Settling for LESS than God’s BEST
February 19 Bible Reading: Numbers Chapters 31-33
In Numbers 32, we read about the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh wanting to settle down in the land of Jazer and Gilead, which is east of the Jordan River, as they had a great multitude of livestock and this region was a place of livestock. (Num 32:1). They came to Moses and expressed their desire: "If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan" (Num 32:5). This proposal showed disregard to the land of Canaan, distrust of the Lord's promise, and unwillingness to encounter the difficulties and dangers of conquering and driving out the inhabitants of that land. Moses warns them of their foolish desire in Num 32:6-15.
Two things common in the world might lead these tribes to make this choice: the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. They considered their own convenience more than the plan of God for their future, which was to settle down in the Promised Land. Even today, many seek their own convenience more than God’s ultimate plan for them. They are led by worldly interests and temporal advantages that fall short of the heavenly Canaan that God is preparing for them. The Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh, who chose their inheritance just outside the Promised Land, are types of world-bordering carnal Christians.
These tribes propose that their men of war will go armed before the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, and that they will not return until the conquest of Canaan was ended (Num 32:16-32). Moses then grants their request, which clearly was less than what God had intended for them. “So Moses gave to the children of Gad, to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land with its cities within the borders, the cities of the surrounding country” (Num 32:33) . This was clearly a wrong choice and history tells us that this compromise led to their captivity by Assyria much sooner than all the other tribes of Israel. “And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day” (1 Chron 5:25-26)