Today’s Passage –Numbers 32 – 33
Scripture Reading for February – Psalm 100
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Matthew 6:33
“And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war, And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD. But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” – (Numbers 32:20-23)
I have used the phrase “be sure your sin will find you out” many times as a parent, as a school teacher, and as a preacher. I usually use it as a warning to people who are in a situation where there are no human eyes on their conduct in order to try to keep them from the temptation of yielding to sin. For example, in our little Christian school, I have often had to walk out of the room when the students were taking a test. I would remind them that cheating is a sin, and that they could be sure that somehow I would find out about it, and even if I never did, God knows what they are up to. I remember telling my children when they became young adults that I could not be everywhere they were, monitoring their every move; but God saw everything that they were doing.
It is interesting, however, that I have never used this phrase exactly in the same way that Moses used it in the context of Numbers 32. In our text this morning, we see the tribes of Reuben and Gad asking permission of Moses to let them possess and develop the land that was on the eastern side of the Jordan River. This particular area was not originally supposed to be inhabited by Israel, at least not yet. Israel was instructed by God to cross the Jordan, and take possession of the land that was on the west side. Moses, at first objects to their request, because he says that the tribes of Reuben and Gad were needed to fight along with the other ten tribes as they took possession of the land on the other side of the river. Moses actually compares the situation to when the 12 men went in to spy out the land; ten of them returning with “an evil report”, which discouraged the people. Moses told Reuben and Gad that their absence from the battles will cause the other tribes to become discouraged as they finished the job of removing the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. An agreement is finally reached when the men of the tribes of Reuben and Gad offer to go with the other tribes across the Jordan, and remain with them until all of the enemies of Israel have been removed from the land, and then when the job was done, they would then cross back over to their families and cattle waiting on the other side. However, Moses warns them that if they don’t follow through on what they promise to do, their sin will find them out.
Perhaps the best way to apply this principle to us today is to use it the way Moses used it. Let me explain. God has given us an assignment today just as he had given the children of Israel. Our job is not, however, to invade the land and remove people. Our job today is to invade the land and save people. Well, we don’t save them, but we can introduce them to the One who can. Then we are to train these people through the teaching and preaching of the Word of God so that they can become less like the Canaanite world around them, and more like the Lord Jesus Christ; and as they become more Christlike, they then begin to influence the people around them. So, how does this relate to what Moses warned the people of Gad and Reuben about? Moses was concerned that the lack of participation on the part of these two tribes would discourage the rest of the congregation from doing what they were called to do. Are you getting it? When we don’t participate in the Great Commission: when we don’t support the services, the studies, the Sunday School, and the soul winning programs of the church with our presence and participation, it discourages others, and may cause them to want to stop coming as well. When we don’t participate in giving our tithes to the local church, and our offerings to special projects like world missions, it can be very discouraging to the others in the congregation. Our support is not only commanded, it is very necessary. When more of God’s people are involved, it encourages, and motivates the rest of the church to get more involved as well. But, if we don’t do our part, we are indeed sinning against the Lord, and that sin will come back to haunt us eventually. Get involved. Find ways to increase your participation in the ministries of the local church. Your involvement will encourage your pastor tremendously, and it will also stir up the people around you to get on board as well.
Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.