Today you should read: Numbers 32
Have you ever discouraged someone by not doing something you were supposed to do?
It happens in almost every area of life. Work, school, family responsibilities, church . . . You name something that entails some type of responsibility, and I can probably give you an example of discouragement when someone doesn’t fulfill that responsibility. That’s the heart of Moses’ question to the people of Reuben and Gad in verse 6. It’s not that they were wrong in wanting to settle in Gilead instead of Transjordan. It was the motive behind that settlement. It sounds like they already came from a family who was lazy, disobedient and discouraging concerning where God wanted them to settle (vs. 6-8). Sometimes to get to the heart of such matters we as Christians must question our motives.
Reread that last sentence again.
Now reread what Moses says to the people of Reuben and Gad. I know you’re probably thinking this is starting to get a little too close to that certain word that no one likes to be accused of… “Judging.” But let’s shoot straight here and examine the pointed questions and comments that Moses has for the people who wanted to set up camp in Gilead. He questions their motives, reminds them of their father’s past mistakes in a similar area and then threatens them with God’s wrath on His behalf (which by the way, sounds a little worse than being “judgmental”).
I bring all of this up because I believe that if we really want to disciple, share the Gospel and hold each other accountable, we may need to get past the culturally sensitive, politically correct language of today and be straight forward about one another’s motives. I also love how the people of Reuben and Gad respond to Moses after his blunt questions and warnings. They didn’t update their Facebook statuses to say “Moses & God’s people can be so judgmental.” They didn’t rebel, even if what Moses said wasn’t true but had the appearance of potential truth. Instead, they made an agreement with Moses to travel and fight with God’s people until they got to where God was sending them. They then had permission to go back to Gilead. Talk about integrity and going above and beyond. Of course this doesn’t give us an excuse to be harsh and condemning to every person or Christian we believe is asking or doing something with false motives. There’s a time for grace, a time for love but also a time for the church to confront potential sin and for us to listen to someone who has the holy courage to confront us with it.
Posted by: Erik Koliser