The Gadites and Reubenites were two tribes of Israel that decided that rather than cross the Jordan River with the rest of the nation they preferred to settle in the lands of Jazer and Gilead they had just conquered. Moses saw their decision as one which would discourage the other tribes from crossing the Jordan. Already the nation had suffered forty years of hardship wandering in the desert for refusing to go into the Promised Land the first time. So God’s leader had some pretty strong words for them.
“If you turn back from following Him, He will once again leave this people in the wilderness, and you will destroy all of them . . . But if you don’t do this, [cross over and help the other tribes conquer Canaan], you will certainly sin against the LORD; be sure your sin will catch up with you” (vs 15,23). At a pivotal moment in Israel’s history, read next how two tribes chose to pursue their dreams.
Numbers 32:31,32—The Gadites and Reubenites replied, “What the LORD has spoken to your servants is what we will do. We will cross over in battle formation before the LORD into the land of Canaan, but we will keep our hereditary possession across the Jordan.
This passage ought to encourage us for several reasons. First, at no time did God suggest that Israel was to settle anywhere outside of where He was leading them—Canaan. Yet, when two tribes saw the potential in the place where they were, God sanctioned their dream. They were not rebelling, they simply were content with what they already had. Too often people see God as inflexible and unconcerned with their interests.
Second, notice how focused the Gadites and Reubenites were on obeying God. They would do exactly what Moses asked of them and cross over the Jordan to fight with their countrymen. From a military perspective this gave Moses a tactical advantage. He had a force of men unencumbered with family and possessions focused purely on winning battles with the added incentive that when the job was complete they could return to their loved ones and already secured area.
How often do we find excuses not to do what God wants of us? Too often Jesus’ followers resist the leading of the Holy Spirit to obey God’s will. The proof of this is an anemic church. How much better it would be if we would say, “What the Lord has spoken is what we will do!” To obey is better than making excuses and going our own way which leads to trouble. To obey is better than arguing with God and whining which demoralizes those listening. To obey puts us squarely in the center of His will and the result is blessing!
“What we will do”—these four words express collective intent, purpose, resolve and commitment. Find a group of believers of this ilk and you will see what God will do.
Obedience is not a formula; rather, it is the attitude of a person who looks at God and says, “I want to follow You. I will do as You say, because I love You and want above all else to please You.”—Margaret Thatcher in The Freedom of Obedience
©2014 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)