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Bible Pathways 02/27/2002

February 27

Read Numbers 32 -- 33

In Today's Reading:

Consider what prompted Reuben and Gad to settle outside the Promised Land. Consider how their temptation could in a similar way affect all of us.

Verses for Today:

Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben . . . why do you discourage the hearts of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord has given them? (Numbers 32:6-7).


Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh settle east of the Jordan; a summary of Israel's 40 years in the wilderness; instruction to the Israelites to destroy all idol worship and drive out the Canaanite people as they conquered the land.

More than 500 years had passed since God promised to Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. Since that time, the Israelites had looked forward to the fulfillment of His promise. Finally, the time had arrived for these privileged people to enter the Promised Land. However, the powerful tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh made a joint decision not to settle in the Promised Land.

The lush pasturelands in the recently captured territory east of the Jordan, from the Arnon River in the south to Mount Hermon in the north, appealed to them (Deuteronomy 2:313:17; 34:1; 1 Chronicles 5:16). Believing they would be financially better off if they remained on the eastern side of the Jordan just outside the Promised Land, they said to Moses: The country . . . is a land for cattle, and your servants have cattle: Therefore (do not) . . . bring us over Jordan (Numbers 32:4-5). It appeared to be a wise financial decision. But they didn't consider the consequence of being far removed from the Tabernacle and the presence of God, or the influence of spiritual leadership from the priests. Their chief concern was achieving material success in the beautiful fertile plains and valleys they had won from the Amorites rather than fulfilling the Will of God in the land that God had chosen for them. Their hearts were set on material goals and they soon became involved in idol worship bringing the Lord's judgment on them. They were the first tribes to be defeated by enemy nations who carried them away into captivity (1 Chronicles 5:25-26).

God never insists that we accept what is best because He has given us the right to choose our destiny. This is why Moses permitted them to choose where they preferred to live. Many today whose chief concern in life is material success are easily drawn into the snare of the devil.

God's direction for our lives seldom seems to be what we expect, but spiritually-minded people are not as concerned with obtaining their personal desires as they are in doing the will of God.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? (1 John 3:16-17).

A Thought from Proverbs: The blessing of the Lord, it makes rich, and He adds no sorrow (no regrets) with it (10:22).

Christ Revealed:

Through the Promised Land -- filled with abundance, as well as protection, which the Lord has given (32:7) to all who seek to live according to His Word. Blessed be . . . God . . . which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us . . . by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Word Studies:

32:14 augment = increase; 32:39 dispossessed = drove out; 33:2 goings out = starting place; 33:3 a high hand = triumphantly; 33:52 pictures = carved idols; quite pluck down = demolish; high places = places for idol worship; 33:55 vex = constant source of irritation.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Church · Country: Taiwan (22 million) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese · Limited Religious freedom · 93% Chinese religions; 4% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that He has promised to sustain us at all times (Psalms 55:22).

Optional Reading: Luke 14

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11

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