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Numbers Chapter 32 (ESV)
6 But Moses said to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? 7 Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the Lord has given them? 8 Your fathers did this, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. 9 For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the people of Israel from going into the land that the Lord had given them. 10 And the Lord’s anger was kindled on that day, and he swore, saying, 11 ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me, 12 none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ 13 And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone. 14 And behold, you have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the Lord against Israel! 15 For if you turn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all this people.”
16 Then they came near to him and said, “We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones, 17 but we will take up arms, ready to go before the people of Israel, until we have brought them to their place. And our little ones shall live in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until each of the people of Israel has gained his inheritance. 19 For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has come to us on this side of the Jordan to the east.”
- Read the passage slowly. If time permits, read through the chapter for a better understanding of the conflict presented here.
- Moses was upset at the tribes of Reuben and Gad. However, the leaders demonstrated their commitment by leading Israel into battle and bearing the brunt of the attack. They also showed their trust in God by being ready to leave their families and herds unprotected while fighting the war. Moses granted their request.
- We can’t really say what God’s best for another person is. And our view isn’t really important. What counts is still his/her commitment to, and active trust in, God. Each person must have the freedom to follow where God leads.
- Have I ever made sincere advice to someone? Did he follow the advice? If his response were contrary to my advice, what would I react? Why?
- Do I value his following my opinion? Or his own commitment and trust in God?
- Pray that I would focus on the trust in and commitment to God of myself and others rather than whether my opinion is accepted by others. Help me see that God is the one for us to follow.
- Pray for true commitment and trust in God to work things out God’s Way.