Shall Your Brethren Go To War While You Sit Here
1. Prior to Israel's occupation of the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad wanted to settle in the land east of the Jordan
2. Their request and Moses' response are found in Num 32:1-27, and have practical application to our service in the church today.
Date: Sept. 29, 2007 - Text: Numbers 32:1-6
"SHALL YOUR BRETHREN GO TO WAR WHILE YOU SIT HERE?"
[Let's begin our study with a review of...]
I. THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT IN NUMBERS
A. REUBEN AND GAD EXPRESS THEIR DESIRE...
1. Justifying their request: They were two tribes with much livestock - Num 32:1a
2. They saw that the land of Jazer and Gilead was good for livestock - Num 32:1b
3. So they requested to be given the land East of the Jordan River - Num 32:2-5
B. MOSES RESPONDS...
1. "Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here?" - Num 32:6
a. How could they be at ease while their brothers must continue fighting to gain their inheritance?
b. Was it not with their brethren's help that the land they desire is now available?
2. How Moses viewed their request... *
a. Their action would discourage their brothers who had to cross - Num 32:7
b. This action would be no different than the ten spies report years ago.
1) Discouraged Israel by their report - Num 32:8-9
2) Aroused God's anger against them - Num 32:10-13 (standing at the edge of the promise, yet refusing to take hold of it)
c. They would in essence destroy God's people! - Num 32:15
C. AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED...
1. Reuben and Gad offer to send their soldiers to help fight - Num 32:16-19
2. Moses agrees, but with a stern warning - Num 32:20-23
a. But if they don't keep their agreement...
1) They will have sinned against the Lord and will not receive the Eastern inheritance!
· [In 1 Cor. 10:11 we are told that what happened to Israel serves as an example to us, and was written for our admonition. With this in mind, let's consider the following...]
II. APPLICATION FOR US TODAY
A. LIKE ISRAEL, WE ARE AT WAR...
1. A spiritual war, to be sure - 2 Cor. 10:3-5 (though we walk in the flesh, we don’t war after the flesh)
2. A war against Satan, and the spiritual forces of wickedness - Eph 6:10-18
-- The Lord's army (the church) fights this battle as her members serve in such areas as evangelism, edification and benevolence.
B. MUCH HAS BEEN DONE UP TO THE PRESENT...
1. Many have stood for the truth in the past….
a. Men such as Luther, coming out of denominationalism…Moody, Finney, Whitefield…
2. Making it possible for us today:
a. To know the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ
b. To worship God in spirit and truth (Christopher Columbus – Light-bearer - on a mission of God )
c. To enjoy the blessings of God's family
· But the war wages on!
And in effect we, too, are standing at the banks of a river, and are faced with a decision, "What now?"
Our river is that dividing line between following our own desire, comfort and will, or following the direction and desire of God.
We’ll call it the land of self, and the land of God.
That land of self, the east side, is that place we're comfortable with, and you know that place. Many churches know that place. That place where life is easy, challenges are few, the boundaries are clear, enemies are rare.
And if there was a motto in the land of self it would be this: "Don’t rock the boat. Don’t make people uncomfortable, don’t get vulnerable, don’t stir things up." And it’s an easy land to live in but a hard land to leave. The rewards may be few, the satisfaction may be gone, we won’t be fulfilling our true Christian duty, but you know what, we’ll be comfortable.
And the point is a church, a congregation will prosper, and succeed, and be effective, and accomplish God’s will only in proportion to those who are willing to leave that east side, the land of self and venture into that territory called the land of God.
Lets talk about that land (the land of God) for a moment. For the Israelites it was a land of great promise. Exodus 3:8 calls it a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. In other words a prosperous land.
God promised that if they went there, and obeyed He would be with them to guide, protect, bless, but to go there meant sacrifice, and challenge, and hardship, and loss, and duty, and persecution, and so there is the dilemma, do we stay on the east side, or do we cross the Jordan.
“I remember a few years ago seeing an ad in the paper for a drive-in passion play in Branson, Missouri. Like a drive-in movie, you could watch the story of Jesus, the passion play without ever getting out of your car. And I’ll never forget the ad, “Come and experience the life of Christ all from the comfort of your own car.” We will not experience the life of Christ or the life that Christ desires for us from within our areas of comfort. We will not be the church that God desires from within our areas of comfort.”
C. MOSES’ WORDS TO US – “SHALL OUR BRETHREN GO TO WAR WHILE WE SIT HERE?”
1. By lettings others do the work of the church? (Many today come and enjoy the services, the events, the successes of the church…and yet, will not show up when the call is given to the work of the Lord.
2. Shall we just sit, enjoying the efforts of others?
a. The efforts of those who labored in the past?
b. The efforts of those who labor now, and we enjoy the blessings of fellowship & worship?
· Jack Hyles Commentary on Numbers 32
D. IF WE ARE SITTING, WHAT IS THE EFFECT?
1. We discourage our brethren! - cf. Num 32:7
a. Who often must carry the burden alone…easily get "burned out" trying to do it all.
2. Lack of involvement is just as detrimental as active opposition!
a. The slothful is a brother to him who destroys – Prov. 18:9
b. If we do not gather, then we scatter; there is no neutral ground! - Mt 12:30
-- If we are not actively involved in some phase of the Lord's work, that is exactly what we are doing!
-- Like just sitting in a wagon when it’s stuck in a bog, instead of pulling or pushing, we are hindering its progress!
E. WHAT WILL BE THE END RESULT?
1. We will have sinned against the Lord! - cf. Num 32:23a
a. For what one doesn't do for the church, it affects Christ!
b. As Paul learned when he persecuted the church - Ac 9:1-5
c. Yes, when we sin against the brethren, we sin against Christ! - 1 Co 8:12
2. Be sure that our sin will find us out!
a. It will come out in the growth of the congregation
b. It will come out on the Day of Judgment!
1) When we have to answer for our laziness!
1. When Reuben and Gad realized the effect of sitting while their brethren went to war, they immediately made arrangements to do their part
2. But may we all determine not to rest until the work is done, by resolving to be...
a. More diligent in the spiritual battle we face!
Are you in the army of Christ, actively engaged in the service of His kingdom?
Have you layed down your weapons of warfare, choosing to stop in the Land of Self, or are you determined to cross over to the Land of God…the Land of Promise.
"SHALL YOUR BROTHERS GO TO WAR WHILE YOU SIT HERE?"