“Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock; and when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that indeed the region was a place for livestock, the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, ‘Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Shebam, Nebo, and Beon, the country which the Lord defeated before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.’ Therefore they said, ‘If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan.’” Numbers 32:1-5
The trouble with these tribes is they made choices bound by their belongings. Their sight was limited because it was distracted. They asked on the basis of God’s favor to them, yet failed to favor Him first and above their own possessions. How differently they may have proceeded had they prayed, ‘since You and Your call are favored in our sight…’
Moses immediately recalled their predecessors’ reluctance decades before when they made excuses for not entering the promised land by holding their safety as of primary importance. In a similar manner, these had limited their vision for what God wanted by focusing on what they wanted, which was far inferior. Their protection, their familiar, their stuff, was all they chose to know, and their faith was stunted over lack of willingness and trust for God’s new thing. They did agree to go temporarily and fight for Israel, but they had staked their claim on Jordan’s east side beforehand and would be bound to return. (Numbers 32:6-33; Isaiah 43:19)
Juxtaposed to those drawn to their many cares were Joshua and Caleb, who cared more for what God had promised. They boldly heeded God’s call to venture into His good land, and leave for us a legacy of focused faith. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
What cattle, what plans with all their trappings, keep us from crossing over to God’s Canaan? He bids us to new places, or people, or work, and the need to build barns and cities encumbers, catching in the craw of our consciousness, causing cough and clutter, every kind of excuse not to go forward with Him. We fret with busyness and maintenance, and to control comfort and safe places, and have no availability to serve, or tested and tried faith to rely on the Lord. Cast your cares upon the Lord , and will He lift you up… out of your small world and onto His promised land. (Psalm 55:22)
Where is the Lord calling, if only we’d let go? Would we take time to discern whether we are more concerned with our own agenda and all it requires than with what the Lord requires of us?
Father, may I gladly arise and eagerly cross into Your every place of promise, free from fetters, and with full enthusiasm for Your call. Plant me where You will, and be exalted through me there.