Who hasn’t seen things on the other side and wanted to mosey on over and take advantage of it? Who hasn’t longed for greener pastures? Literally.
The land…is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock
Numbers 32:4 (ESV)
It would make sense to most – or all – that if a land is good for what you have, that you should have that land. The Israelite tribes of Reuben and Gad were in livestock. God happened to have struck down all the people in a land that happened to be great for livestock so Reuben and Gad approached Moses about taking that land.
Sounds great, right? Here’s the catch, they wanted that land instead of the land across the Jordan. They wanted that land instead of the Promised Land. They decided amongst themselves that the land just across the river from the Promised Land was good enough.
It’s not as much about the land as it is about unity. The last time a few Israelites shunned the land God had set aside for them a lot of people died. In fact, almost everyone over the age of twenty died while wandering in the wilderness for an additional forty years.
God brought Israel out of Egypt together and had every intent of bringing them into the Promised Land together. A couple of tribes lost sight of that. They lost sight of the vision of the whole and focused on their vision as a smaller group. Could they have taken the land for their livestock and been prosperous? Probably. But what would they be missing out on if the rest of Israel went ahead without them? What would Israel miss out on without all twelve tribes working together?
Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the Lord has given them?
Numbers 32:7 (ESV)
God brings people together for purpose. When we focus too much on our own wants and needs, we can very easily lose sight of the greater vision. Yes, we can accomplish great things on our own, but how much more can we accomplish together?
Daily Bible reading: Numbers 32-33, Mark 10:1-31