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Bible Pathways - Feb. 27, 2008


February 27

Numbers 32

Highlights In Today's Reading:

The Canaanites must be expelled before Israel can possess the promised land: In the fourth generation they (the Israelites) shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full (Genesis 15:16). A summary of the wilderness journeys — 39 years of wasted lives. But first, the time of judgment for Israel's compromising sins had come.

Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh asked for permission to settle in the territory recently captured on the east side of Jordan, just across the Jordan River, but just outside the promised land. The children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw all the land . . . behold, the place was a place for cattle . . . Wherefore, said they . . . bring us not over Jordan. . . . And Moses said . . . Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them? . . . Be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:1-23). Their reasoning was that it was an excellent area for their very great multitude of cattle. This may have been good reasoning from a financial point of view for remaining outside the promised land, but it was one of compromise. Only one judge or deliverer came from these tribes. Jephthah was a Gileadite.

The God-appointed territory for all the tribes was inside Canaan, not near by. The two-and-one-half tribes were willing to give up their birthright in the Promised Land for what appeared to be material gain. The unity of the nation, their nearness to the Tabernacle, and the presence of God should have been the choices that were uppermost in their desires.

Neither the Reubenites nor the Gadites show any indication of rejecting Jehovah as their God. They still expected the blessings and security of God but did not want to give up the lush grasslands to fulfill His will. Their association with heathen neighbors on the east side of Jordan soon led them into idolatry, so they were the first of the tribes to be taken captive (I Chronicles 5:25-26).

Many Christians today resemble the Reubenites and the Gadites, whose decisions were influenced by material advantages. Business, social advancement or an atmosphere of prominence, often are chosen rather than the will of God. A worldly policy often overrules spiritual separation, but it is self-deceiving and self-defeating. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). People of faith always find ways to please God — others settle for excuses.

They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24).

Thought for Today:

When we follow our own logic, we are settling for far less than God's best.

Christ Revealed:

Through the promised land — filled with abundance, as well as protection, for those who live in harmony with His Word (Numbers 33:50-54). I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

Word Studies:

32:4 smote =conquered; 32:11 followed =obeyed; 32:14 an increase = brood; augment =increase, add to; 32:17 fenced =fortified, walled; 32:19 forward =beyond; 32:22 guiltless =free of obligation; 32:39 dispossessed =prove out; 33:2 goings out =starting places; 33:3 with a high hand =triumphantly; 33:52 pictures =objects of worship; quite pluck down =demolish; high places =places where shrines for idol worship were erected; 33:55 vex you =source of trouble.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Staff: Ken Sharp • Country: Dominican Republic (8 million) in the West Indies, occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola • Major language: Spanish • Religious freedom • 96% Roman Catholic (many are spiritists); 2% Protestant; 1% Afro-American spiritist • Prayer Suggestion: Praise God for godly men of old who were faithful to record His Word of Truth (Habakkuk 2:1-2).

Optional Reading: Luke 14

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:6

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