Numbers 32 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“The Gadites and the Reubenites replied, ‘What the L_rd has spoken to your servants is what we will do. We will cross over (the Jordan) in battle formation before the L_rd into the land of Canaan, but we will keep our hereditary possession across the Jordan.’ So Moses gave them – the Gadites, Reubenites, and half tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph – the kingdoms of Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan, the land including its cities with the territories surrounding them.” Numbers 32:31-33
Ever since Abraham left his hometown to follow the L_rd to “The place I will show you”, one thought has been at the forefront of the Hebrew mindset. One thought sustained Isaac when he was about to be sacrificed; one thought sustained Jacob through his trouble. One thought gave birth to a nation, and one hope encouraged that nation to endure 400 years of slavery and 40 years in the desert: G_d’s promise can be trusted.
G_d had promised Canaan to Abraham’s descendents.
Israel was standing at the banks of the Jordan, getting ready to receive the fulfillment of G_d’s promise, when a chunk of their fighting force said, “We’re good. We don’t need to enter in.” Why would they have such a lukewarm reaction to the Promised Land?
In a word, I would say their issue was “value”. They appraised their surroundings, compared Canaan, and then chose to value the land east of the Jordan. Their evaluation seemed to be void of anything spiritual. It simply made better human sense to them.
To understand this passage, it is incumbent upon us to consider the difference between “information” and “value”. Information is raw data. Value is determined by the degree of consideration you pay to that data.
When I was a kid, my dad said, “Rotate your car’s tires every 3000 miles.” That was good information. Sadly, I didn’t value that information until I had to replace my 1st set of warped tires!!!
Reuben, Gad, and the warriors clans of Manasseh, knew that Canaan was G_d’s provision. They knew many generations had longed to enter in, suffering to lay the foundation for what was now offered by grace. Yet somehow, the “value” wasn’t transferred. Value is transferred by personal relationships, or personal experience. Perhaps, the blame goes to their parents. We know that sin kept the generation that left Egypt from entering Canaan. I suggest that Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh’s response is telling, as to sin’s effects on their elders’ ability to communicate “value” for G_d’s Word. They knew G_d’s promise, but simply did not esteem it.
You can attend a congregation and participate in what worshippers do…but until you consistently experience G_d in a personal way, you’ll never develop an enduring value for Him, His promises or His people. And that is why we are spending time with Him daily, reading his Word and getting to know Him, personally.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Sunday, June 8, 2014