1 The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock.
2 So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon— 4 the land the LORD subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. 5 If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.” 6 Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Should your fellow Israelites go to war while you sit here? 7 Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land the LORD has given them?
15 If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction." 16 Then they came up to him and said, “We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and childre 17 But we will arm ourselves for battle[a] and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until each of the Israelites has received their inheritance.
19 We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.”
The time has come for God’s people to enter the land of Canaan.
The Jordan River established the entry point into the Promised Land.
God’s iinitial instructions were to go all the way into Promise Land that is Canaan.
But two and half tribes Reuben, Gad and Manasseh didn’t want to cross Jordan River to go into the Land of Canaan.
I. THEIR DECISION INFLUENCED BY THEIR NEED
1 The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands
of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock.
2 So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon—
4 the land the LORD subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock.
They had a large number of livestock than other tribes.
When they saw the land was a good place for their cattle to graze and grow they decided to stay back and settle down this side of Jordan River.
The decision was a simple matter of economics and based on material factors.
In their need they did not respect the will of God, His promises for them in Canaan or His spiritual purposes for them as a nation Israel.
The blessings of God became stumbling block to obey and follow God.
2½ ttribes must have –noticed – discussed – made a decision after seeing the attractive grass.
Their thinking was totally against God’s command.
Settling outside of the Promised Land was totally based on selfish motives and carnal thinking.
Many people, even in our day, victims of such carnal thinking and settle outside of God’s promises and purposes.
The present need in our life can compel us to living on the other side of Jordan
The 2 ½ tribes did not know what they had lost in the Promised Land.
They lost sight of God’s first requirement to “possess the land”.
God had brought them to a certain point in life, but all of a sudden they decided to reject God’s leading because of reasons based on human need and circumstances.
They thought they were helping God in the distribution of the land.
Our CATTLE can be anything we have that distract us from moving forward to the Promise Land
God always has a clear plan and purpose for each one of us.
We should not let our situation and circumstances to decide what our Promise Land is.
II. THEIR DECISION HAD CONSEQUENCES
6 Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Should your fellow Israelites go to war while you sit here?
7 Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land the LORD has given them?
These 2½ tribes had an obligation to the rest of the Israelites.
The plan of God for all of Israel had not yet been completed and God expected every tribe to be part of the Promised Land.
A. Their decision affected others
Moses thought they were trying to avoid their obligations to the pack.
Moses believed this would discourage the other tribes to proceed beyond Jordan River.
Moses says time out let us talk it over.
He reminded them of their past from the 40 years of desert wandering.
8 This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land.
9 After they went up to the Valley of Eshkol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the LORD had given them. 10 The LORD’s anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath: 11 ‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— 12 not one except Calebson of Jephunneh
the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the LORD wholeheartedly.’ 13 The LORD’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.
Because of their disobedience only 2 entered the PL from the original group of people.
The original group which left Egypt all perished in the wilderness.
These two and half tribes were willing to live just outside of their “Inheritance.”
Do you know that we influence others in many ways by our actions, words and habits?
It is called the spirit of influence.
Without our knowledge by our actions and words we can discourage others.
When we live outside of God’s will and purpose, such actions and words become a common occurrence in our life.
B. Their decision affected their families
26 Our children and wives, our flocks and herds will remain here in the cities of Gilead. 27 But your servants, every man who is armed for battle, will cross over to fight before the LORD, just as our lord says.”
Gilead was on the wrong side of Jordan.
They were not supposed to set up their tents there.
This was a compromise.
Their decision put their families on other side of the Promise Land.
They had compromised with the culture and people around them
Men left their families for a longer period of time to fight with other tribes.
Children did not have fathers; wives did not have husbands (Many in US)
God had never intended for them to settle apart from the Promised Land.
The men of these tribes made the decision that they knew better than God about where to settle down and raise their families.
C. Their decision affected their future generations
So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the
Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day
152 years later they were taken into exile by the Assyrians.
Every person who made a decision not to cros River Jordan and lived in Gilead was dead by this time.
We see that their children and grandchildren paid the price.
Their position was vulnerable to the enemy because they were outside of the Promised Land
We have to remember that all the problems start with a compromise.
We have seen that again and again in the lives of many because of a compromise.
When we compromise with God’s Word and Holy Spirit’s guidance, we began to move away from the Promise Land.
That is when we will be most vulnerable to Satan to drive us further away from the LORD.
Our Promise Land is the eternal hope and we keep walking towards it every day.
When we have Kingdom priority visible in our lives, many will be impacted and nfluenced.
For people living on the East side of the River Jordan, God is not important in their lives.
They had different standards for social and cultural behavior which was contrary to Israelites as God's people.
These 2 ½ tribes lived outside of the Promise Land had lost touch with God and His worship.
They became cold and indifferent to God of Israel because of their existence outside of Canaan.
What do we learn from this incident form the pages of Israelites history?
We can ask ourselves three questions.
Are we living on the other side of River Jordan?
What are the things that compelled us to live outside of the Promise Land?
Are we compromising to remain on the wrong side of the River Jordan?
Remember, my friend, there are consequences for such living..
Like two & half tribes we will lose the intimate fellowship with the Lord.
Like the two & half tribes we can become cold and indifferent to the Lord who saved us.
Like the two & half tribes we can be exposed to the devil and vulnarable to his attacks.
May we repent and seek the Lord's forgiveness for living out side of His will and purpose.
May we seek the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit to cross over to other side, the Promised Land.