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Wednesday January 30 – Strive side by side

…we will take up arms, ready to go before the people of Israel, until we have brought them to their place. – Numbers 32:17

Scripture reading: Numbers 32:1-27

At the last moment, the future is in danger again. Moses words in vs. 14 and 15 are quite sharp! He receives a request by Reuben and Gad. They ask to not cross the Jordan. What caused this? They saw the land they had and the fact that they had many animals. The LORD had blessed them, but rather than seeing these blessings as a reason to go forward more zealously, they use them as an excuse to stop. They go by sight, not by faith!

Moses exposes this attitude. He accuses these tribes of selfishness. You stay here and let your brothers do the fighting for God’s kingdom. Next, he blames them for discouraging the others. Why should the others go on when Reuben and Gad are nicely enjoying their rest already? He then shows the root problem. It is rebellion. This is no different than the refusal to enter the land 40 years earlier.

Moses’ sharp rebuke has results. The two tribes come back and pledge that they will go with their brothers. They will go to the head. When all the fighting is over they will return to their homes. Moses makes them swear an oath. Joshua 22 shows they kept their word.

The entrance into the Promised Land is endangered by selfishness. It is opened by a commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder. We are called to strive side by side for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). To do this we need the mind of Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for exposing the dangers of selfishness. Pray to stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Douwe G. J. Agema is currently minister of Living Word Canadian Reformed Church in Guelph and also teaches several courses at Covenant Canadian Reformed Teachers’ College.

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