Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh settle east of the Jordan; a summary of Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness
More than 40 years had passed since Moses, while still in Egypt, foretold that God would lead the Israelites to the land He had promised to Abraham. While moving forward with great anticipation and almost in view of the promised land, two of the twelve tribes, those of Reuben and Gad, which had a very great multitude of cattle (Numbers 32:1), decided they would be better off if they remained on the eastern side of the Jordan. So they said to Moses: The country which the Lord smote (conquered) . . . is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle: Wherefore, said they . . . let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan (32:4-5). Moses replied: Wherefore (Why) discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them? (32:7). They were joined by half the tribe of Manasseh (32:33). Humanly speaking, it was a wise financial decision; but, spiritually, it was an act of compromise. The unity of the nation and being able to worship regularly in the presence of God at the Tabernacle should have been uppermost in their desires.
Over a period of years they gradually became involved in idol worship and ignored the Lord’s instructions: These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
The two and one-half tribes typify self-indulgent Christians who foolishly allow financial, social, or physical advantages to overly influence their decision making. Like the two and one-half tribes, allowing worldly interests to influence anyone to neglect weekly worship is a slippery slope that will ultimately lead to eternal tragedies as the prophet foretold: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge . . . I will also forget thy children (Hosea 4:6). Christ is to be Lord of every Christian’s life. Whatever the faults of the Church as we know it, the Church is Christ’s Church and Christians are to be responsible members of a local body of believers. If we neglect the Church, we shall eventually drift into secular activities and a loss of spiritual values. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. . . . For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:24,26).
Thought For The Day:
Are you content to do God's will? The Lord says godliness with contentment is great gain.
32:14 augment, increase; 32:39 dispossessed, drove out; 33:2 goings out, starting places; 33:52 pictures, carved figures that were objects of worship; quite pluck down, completely destroy; high places, the places for idol worship.
Through the promised land — filled with abundance, as well as protection, for those who live in harmony with His Word (Num. 33:50-54). I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Optional Reading: Luke 14
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 4:16