February 24, 2007
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- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
- And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.
- Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.
- So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
- And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.
- And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
- And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
- And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
- And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
- And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
- And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
- And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
- And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
- And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
- Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
- Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
- But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
- And do ye abide without the camp seven days: whosoever hath killed any person, and whosoever hath touched any slain, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day.
- And purify all your raiment, and all that is made of skins, and all work of goats' hair, and all things made of wood.
- And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses;
- Only the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead,
- Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.
- And ye shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and ye shall be clean, and afterward ye shall come into the camp.
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation:
- And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation:
- And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:
- Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for an heave offering of the LORD.
- And of the children of Israel's half, thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites, which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD.
- And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.
- And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep,
- And threescore and twelve thousand beeves,
- And threescore and one thousand asses,
- And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him.
- And the half, which was the portion of them that went out to war, was in number three hundred thousand and seven and thirty thousand and five hundred sheep:
- And the LORD'S tribute of the sheep was six hundred and threescore and fifteen.
- And the beeves were thirty and six thousand; of which the LORD'S tribute was threescore and twelve.
- And the asses were thirty thousand and five hundred; of which the LORD'S tribute was threescore and one.
- And the persons were sixteen thousand; of which the LORD'S tribute was thirty and two persons.
- And Moses gave the tribute, which was the LORD'S heave offering, unto Eleazar the priest, as the LORD commanded Moses.
- And of the children of Israel's half, which Moses divided from the men that warred,
- (Now the half that pertained unto the congregation was three hundred thousand and thirty thousand and seven thousand and five hundred sheep,
- And thirty and six thousand beeves,
- And thirty thousand asses and five hundred,
- And sixteen thousand persons;)
- Even of the children of Israel's half, Moses took one portion of fifty, both of man and of beast, and gave them unto the Levites, which kept the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.
- And the officers which were over thousands of the host, the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, came near unto Moses:
- And they said unto Moses, Thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one man of us.
- We have therefore brought an oblation for the LORD, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the LORD.
- And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of them, even all wrought jewels.
- And all the gold of the offering that they offered up to the LORD, of the captains of thousands, and of the captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels.
- (For the men of war had taken spoil, every man for himself.)
- And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of the congregation, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.
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- Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle;
- The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying,
- Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,
- Even the country which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle:
- Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.
- And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?
- And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?
- Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land.
- For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the LORD had given them.
- And the LORD'S anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,
- Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:
- Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.
- And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.
- And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel.
- For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.
- And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
- But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.
- We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.
- For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward.
- And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war,
- And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him,
- And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.
- But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
- Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which hath proceeded out of your mouth.
- And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spake unto Moses, saying, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth.
- Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our cattle, shall be there in the cities of Gilead:
- But thy servants will pass over, every man armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord saith.
- So concerning them Moses commanded Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel:
- And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed to battle, before the LORD, and the land shall be subdued before you; then ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession:
- But if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.
- And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As the LORD hath said unto thy servants, so will we do.
- We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours.
- And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about.
- And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,
- And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah,
- And Bethnimrah, and Bethharan, fenced cities: and folds for sheep.
- And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim,
- And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.
- And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which was in it.
- And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein.
- And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof, and called them Havothjair.
- And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.
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Thought for the day:
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Numbers 32 the tribes of Reuben and Gad approached Moses about the possibility of receiving their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan River, outside of Canaan. This land had been taken by the Jews through warfare, and now belonged to them. It was good for cattle, which was the livelihood of these two tribes, so it seemed reasonable to them that they would forfeit their possession within Canaan to take this land outside of Canaan. While we know that Moses ultimately permitted this because of the concessions made by these tribes (
vs. 17-18), his initial response is quite convicting. In
verse 6 he asks,
"shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?"
This is a question that needs to be repeated throughout our fundamental Baptist churches today. There are many believers who are diligently fighting the battle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil. However, there is a huge group of other Christians who are more than happy to sit on the sidelines and allow others to fight the war without them. These sluggards are desirous of enjoying the benefits of the conquest, but are not willing to dirty their hands in order to see it accomplished. They want to have a beautiful church facility with a large staff and numerous events and activities, but they are unwilling to make the financial sacrifices necessary to see it happen. They want to have missionaries sent all over the globe, but they won't give any extra funds to help support those who are willing to go. They want to have a large, growing congregation, but they never invite their acquaintances to church, never go soul- winning, and never make any real attempt to bring new faces into the assembly. In fact, they tend not to be very faithful themselves, because it is so "inconvenient" to have to be at church more than an hour or two each week. They don't visit the sick, nor the hurting. They don't attempt to reconcile the backslider. They make no attempt to find an area of service to get involved in. They don't exercise their spiritual gift. They won't take a public stand for righteousness. They won't do what is necessary to have a Biblical family. They just sit.
Not only are they failing to accomplish anything, but they are a discouragement to those who are trying to fight on. In
verse 7, Moses states,
"And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?"
It is very disheartening to work at a difficult task, and see others who are not willing to assist. It can be lonely, and many a man has given up because it seemed that no one else cared about the work getting done or about the one who labored. Often times those who refuse to help fill their time with criticism of those who do toil. When one knows that he should be doing something, and refuse to obey, then his only recourse to salve his conscience is to attempt to belittle those who are obedient. The story is told that someone once informed the evangelist Billy Sunday that they did not like his methods. He answered, "How do you do it?" "Well, I don't try to preach," was the reply. Sunday responded, "Then I like the way I do it better than the way you don't do it."
We need to have folks in our churches who will be willing to do whatever it takes to see the God's program accomplished. They will have to make the decision that Reuben and Gad finally did:
"We ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place...We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance" (
Give us men and women who rise up and say, "We will not rest, nor surrender our labor for the Lord, until the Great Commission of the church is fulfilled, and the victory has been won!"
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery