“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 NKJV
There is great danger when we, followers of Jesus, opt for the things that are before us, requiring little work. Often what we think is a blessing, turns out to be a curse, as we realize that greater blessings come in obeying the complete will of God.
I spent some more time in Numbers this morning, and read of the tribe of Gad, who seeing that there land east of the Jordan was fertile and good for livestock, decided to settle there.
They bargained with the remaining tribes and fought alongside their brothers, before assuming their own chosen possession. Had they reconsidered and followed the leading of the Lord, all would have been fine, for the Lord was providing them an far better land.
The children of Gad had chosen to stop short, following their own desires. In due time, they became one of the lost tribes of Israel, having been dispersed by the Assyrians in 721 bc, and were assimilated into other people groups, having lost their peculiarities that marked them as one of the chosen of God.
“When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.””
Matthew 8:28-31 NKJV
By the time Jesus had His encounter with demoniacs, the area had no representation of those who where the children of Israel. The area was overrun with gentiles, and only ones who knew Jesus, were the demons He cast out. Swines had replaced the kosher livestock, and this was a place that did not know God.
There are many examples for the modern day follower of Jesus, as we have been saved to enter the rest of the Lord. When we come to Jesus, we are given the opportunity to seek the rest of God, walking in His Spirit, leaning on His power as we conduct life in Christ.
Many choose to remain on the other side of the spiritual Jordan, choosing to reside where think life is fertile, or pleasurable having none of the “hard work” of sanctification.
As with the tribe of Gad, it is not long before there is no distinction between those who walk in the flesh, professing to be Christian and the rest of the world. All may or may not have, fire insurance, and none of the joy of the Lord.
God has given may types and shadows of the need for rest throughout HIs word. In His creation of the world, He created for six days and rested on the seventh. It is woven into fabric of the walk of faith.
In our flesh, we look upon the rest of God as an extra step, when in reality it is filled with the peace of God. The hard work that we dread, is only hard if we rely on our own power to do it. If we rely on the Holy Spirit, it is He who does the work.
“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”
Hebrews 4:9-11 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we have been given a great and precious promise that can be enjoyed in the here and now. As we seek the Lord, surrendering our wills to Him, we receive a glorious exchange, as we receive rest from our struggles. We also receive His presence and the legacy of having the distinction that we are His people.
The world needs Jesus. It needs to hear from those who have maintained spiritual purity, and represent God as genuine ambassadors, preaching the true Gospel, and displaying its effect on their lives.
Let us not be like the tribe of Gad, having settled for what we thought was great, having passed on the unsurpassed blessings of God. So many have fallen by the wayside, still naming themselves as followers of Jesus, but not really following Him at all.
Let us take the time to read our bibles, take time to pray, and let us work out our salvation, or sanctification with fear and trembling.
We are on mission, and time is running out. Let us be faithful, seeking to walk in the Spirit, leading those who need the Lord into the promise of His rest. Our world is truly weary, as many have fallen short. Let our presentation be true and undiluted.
May we be faithful, as an even better rest is on the horizon, as we who have stood steadfast and faithful will enter the New Jerusalem to forever be with the Lord.
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One thought on “Short”
This is a wonderful encouragement Bernie! I am praying, but I think I’m going to share this with a friend of mine who is dealing with some very difficult executive level issues at work. Thanks for your hard work on this podcast my friend and may the Lord bless you and keep you!