Numbers 32

* The tribes of Reuben and Gad request an inheritance on the

east of Jordan. (1-5) Moses reproves the Reubenites and Gadites.

(6-15) They explain their views, Moses consents. (16-27) They

take possession of the land to the east of Jordan. (28-42)

1-5 Here is a proposal made by the Reubenites and Gadites, that

the land lately conquered might be allotted to them. Two things

common in the world might lead these tribes to make this choice;

the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. There was much amiss

in the principle they went upon; they consulted their own

private convenience more than the public good. Thus to the

present time, many seek their own things more than the things of

Jesus Christ; and are led by worldly interests and advantages to

take up short of the heavenly Canaan.
6-15 The proposal showed disregard to the land of Canaan,

distrust of the Lord's promise, and unwillingness to encounter

the difficulties and dangers of conquering and driving out the

inhabitants of that land. Moses is wroth with them. It will

becomes any of God's Israel to sit down unconcerned about the

difficult and perilous concerns of their brethren, whether

public or personal. He reminds them of the fatal consequences of

the unbelief and faint-heartedness of their fathers, when they

were, as themselves, just ready to enter Canaan. If men

considered as they ought what would be the end of sin, they

would be afraid of the beginning of it.
16-27 Here is the good effect of plain dealing. Moses, by

showing their sin, and the danger of it, brought them to their

duty, without murmuring or disputing. All men ought to consider

the interests of others as well as their own; the law of love

requires us to labour, venture, or suffer for each other as

there may be occasion. They propose that their men of war should

go ready armed before the children of Israel into the land of

Canaan, and that they should not return till the conquest of

Canaan was ended. Moses grants their request, but he warns them

of the danger of breaking their word. If you fail, you sin

against the Lord, and not against your brethren only; God will

certainly reckon with you for it. Be sure your sin will find you

out. Sin will surely find out the sinner sooner or later. It

concerns us now to find our sins out, that we may repent of

them, and forsake them, lest they find us out to our ruin.
28-42 Concerning the settlement of these tribes, observe, that

they built the cities, that is, repaired them. They changed the

names of them; probably they were idolatrous, therefore they

should be forgotten. A spirit of selfishness, of seeking our

own, not the things of Christ, when each one ought to assist

others, is as dangerous as it is common. It is impossible to be

sincere in the faith, sensible of the goodness of God,

constrained by the love of Christ, sanctified by the power of

the Holy Ghost, and yet be indifferent to the progress of

religion, and the spiritual success of others, through love of

ease, or fear of conflict. Let then your light so shine before

men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father

which is in heaven.
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