Numbers 32 -- 33
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, Isaac, and Jacob. While moving with great anticipation toward the fulfillment of that promise, and almost in view of the Promised Land, two of the twelve tribes, those of Reuben and Gad, who had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle (Numbers 32:1). This land included all the recently captured territory east of the Jordan from the Arnon River in the south to Mount Hermon in the north (Deuteronomy 2:31 -- 3:17; 34:1; I Chronicles 5:16) and contained lush pasturelands. Believing they would be financially better off if they remained on the eastern side of the Jordan, they said to Moses: The country . . . is a land for cattle, and your servants have cattle: Wherefore . . . bring us not over Jordan (Numbers 32:4-5). The leaders of the two tribes were joined by half the tribe of Manasseh. Humanly speaking, it was a wise financial decision; but it was an act of disobedience to God as well as compromise. The unity of the nation and being near the Tabernacle and the presence of God should have been uppermost in their desires.
At the time of their request, none of the Reubenites, the Gadites, or the half-tribe of Manasseh showed any indication of rejecting the Lord as their God; but, as time went by, their association with heathen neighbors on the east side of the Jordan River soon influenced them to practice idolatry. Whatever the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh thought they would gain in pastures and pleasures, they more than lost in isolation from the Tabernacle, which was the only assigned place to offer sacrifices to the Lord. The consequence of their compromise was that they became the first tribes conquered by their Assyrian enemies (I Chronicles 5:25-26).
These tribes are typical of some people today who are primarily concerned with their immediate material benefits. They give little, if any, thought to the spiritual welfare of their families, neighbors, and associates. Moses replied, why do you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going into the Promised Land (32:7). Like those two and a half tribes, some will choose to move to another part of the country to find a more lucrative job without considering what kind of church may be there to provide for the spiritual needs of their family. Reuben typifies self-indulgent "Christians" who foolishly allow physical advantages to influence their decisions. He stands as a warning to those whose business interests, social advancements, or attainment of prominence are chosen over where and how they can best serve the Lord. Some who claim to be Christians are consumed with worldly pursuits that keep them from giving their time and/or tithes to the Lord. Their spiritual indifference often causes their own children to follow their example, until the opportunity to influence those children to live for the Lord is gone.
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).
Through the Promised Land -- filled with abundance, as well as protection, for those who live in harmony with His Word. I am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
32:14 augment means increase; 32:39 dispossessed means drove out; 33:2 goings out means starting places; 33:52 pictures means carved figures that were objects of worship; quite pluck down means demolish; high places means the places for idol worship.
BPM Staff: Pam Pendergrast · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on KXEN-AM, Mitchell, IL · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Tim Peterson · Country: Yemen (17 million) in southwestern Arabia · Major language: Arabic · Attempts to convert Muslims to Christ are fiercely opposed · 98% Muslim; .03% Christian (all secret believers) · Prayer Suggestion: Pray to be sensitive to give God the praise for everything you do (Psalms 40:16).
Memory Verse for the Week: