My thoughts for today's reading are based on chapter 32. Here we have 3 tribes, Reuben, Gad & the half-tribe of Manasseh, asking to remain on the land they had already conquered east of the Jordan River.
The commentaries I read don't agree on how the whole scene played out, but either way, we can learn from it.
My Bible commentary sees Moses as jumping to conclusions & assuming that these 3 tribes had selfish motives & were trying to get out of helping the others fight for the land across the river.
"Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here?" Numbers 32:6
The 3 tribes, however, respond by saying that they want to make pens for their animals & cities for their families, but then are willing to fight together with the other tribes to gain the promised land.
This should be a good reminder for us to find out all the facts before jumping to conclusions. It is so easy to hear something & react without considering if we actually have the details right or even if what we've heard is in line with that person’s character.
Another version of this story, is that these tribes were actually hoping to just stay behind & had to backpedal when Moses called them out for it in an effort to prevent them from sin. After considering their options, the 3 tribes promised to help. Moses, then, warns them that they had better follow through with their promise to help.
"But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; & you may be sure that your sin will find you out” Number 32:23
Sin can come in different forms; it can be us doing something that is wrong or not doing something that we should. We can't hide our sins from God.
Either way, perhaps what impacted me the most is that these 3 tribes were willing to “settle” without seeing what God had been promising them (the land of milk & honey). They saw what they thought was good & didn't trust God for the good he had promised. How often do we see what we believe would be good for us & strive for it without giving that situation to God & trusting him to give us what is best.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Numbers 33-34