The Fine Line Between Victory & Fatigue, Triumph & Rest

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Numbers, which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters thirty-two and thirty-three of this Old Testament book. SHALL YOUR BRETHREN GO TO WAR, AND SHALL YE SIT HERE? SHOULD YOUR BRETHREN GO TO WAR WHILE YOU SIT IN COMFORT AND EASE? IN THE TIME WHEN KINGS GO OUT TO BATTLE! DAVID SENT JOAB! WALKING UPON THE ROOF OF THE PALACE! 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! WE WILL NOT INHERIT WITH THEM ON YONDER SIDE JORDAN, OR FORWARD! OUR INHERITANCE IS FALLEN TO US ON THIS SIDE JORDAN EASTWARD! 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! AFTERWARD YE SHALL RETURN, AND BE GUILTLESS BEFORE THE LORD, AND BEFORE ISRAEL! BUT IF YE WILL NOT DO SO, BEHOLD, YE HAVE SINNED AGAINST THE LORD! AAND BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT! 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 SUBUDED BEFORE YOU, THEN YE SHALL GIVE THEM THE LAND OF GILEAD FOR A POSSESSION! THESE ARE THE JOURNEYS OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHICH WENT FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT WITH THEIR ARMIES UNDER THE HAND OF MOSES AND AARON! RECOUNTING THE JOURNEYS OF THE ARMIES OF GOD!

When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle, and when they saw the land of Jazaer, and the land of Gilead, and how these were places for cattle, the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came unto Moses and Eleazar the priest speaking about the land which was present on the eastern side of the Jordan River. As you read the words which are found within the thirty-second chapter you will find these two tribes of the children of Israel looking upon the land on the eastern side of the Jordan—land which had already been conquered by the congregation of the children of Israel—and requesting of Moses and Eleazar that they be permitted to inherit the land which was before them. I have to admit that I have long found the words and language that is found within this chapter to be absolutely and incredibly unique and challenging, for within this chapter we find two of the tribes of Israel looking upon land which had already been conquered by the entire host of the children of Israel, and land which was pleasant for their cattle and livestock. Pause for a moment and consider the request which the children of Reuben and the children of Gad brought before and unto Moses, Eleazer the high priest, as well as the princes of the congregation of the children of Israel. If you begin reading with and from the fourth verse you will find the following words which were spoken in the hearing of Moses, Eleazar the high priest, as well as the princes of the congregation and assembly of the people of Israel:

“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” (Numbers 32:4-5).

I have to admit that when I first read these words I have an incredibly difficult time understanding and comprehending the motives and true intentions of these two tribes of the congregation of the children of Israel. It is quite clear that when you read these words—even Moses himself who was the servant of the LORD thought and perceived within himself that these two tribes were attempting to settle and inherit the land on the eastern side of the Jordan River and were unwilling to make the journey over the Jordan River and into the land which the Lord their God had promised them. Even if you read and consider the words which these two tribes spoke unto Moses and Eleazar you will find them referencing the land and how the LORD smote the land with its inhabitants before the congregation of the children of Israel. These two tribes acknowledged that which had been done and accomplished on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, and how it was not only a place of rest for themselves, but also a place of rest for their cattle and livestock. As I sit here this morning and think about and consider the words which are written and recorded in this passage of Scripture I have to admit that I don’t know what the true intentions, motives and desires of these two tribes were. What I mean by that is that I don’t know, nor do I understand if they had grown tired and weary of warfare and battle and sought to remain on the eastern side of the Jordan River while the remaining ten tribes of the congregation of the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River and engaged the inhabitants of the land in battle, conflict and warfare. It is absolutely unclear whether or not these two tribes desired to remain in the place of rest, and in those places which were already conquered so their cattle and livestock could have a place of rest, and so their wives and children might also have a place of rest. If you read the response of Moses you will find Moses’ became wroth with these two tribes, for he perceived them as being interested in remaining on the eastern side of the Jordan River while their brethren crossed over the Jordan River and engaged in battle and conflict with the inhabitants of the land—those who were enemies and adversaries of the living God. Consider if you will the words which Moses the servant of the Lord spoke unto the children of Reuben and the children of Gad upon hearing their request to inherit and possess the land east of the Jordan River:

“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 Kadesh-barnea to see the land. For when they went up unto the valley of Eschol, 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 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 Knezite, 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 towar diSrael. For if y turn away from after Him, He will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people” (Numbers 32:6-15).

When speaking unto the children of Reuben, as well as the children of Gad, Moses rebuked and chastised them for seeking an inheritance on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, for he perceived within himself that they were seeking to avoid crossing over the Jordan River to enter into battle and conflict against the inhabitants of the land. Notice if you will the question which Moses asked of the children of Reuben, as well as the children of Gad, for Moses asked them whether or not they brothers should go forth to war while they sat behind on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. Please don’t miss the incredible significance of this question, for it is a question which strikes at the very heart of many within the house of the living God, and many within the body of Christ today. The question which Moses asked the children of Gad, as well as the children of Reuben was a question of motive, a question of desire, a question of intention, and a question that was meant to provoke them within the depths of their heart and soul. It is absolutely necessary that we think about and consider the question which Moses the servant of the LORD asked these two tribes, for the underlying theme and current of this question is found in the eleventh chapter of the book of Second Samuel. If you turn and direct your attention to this Old Testament book you will find and read about a very dark time during the life of David king of Israel—perhaps even darker than when he fled from the murderous hand of Saul prior to becoming king, and perhaps even darker than when he had fled from the rebellious hand of his son Absalom who sought to usurp the authority of his father who was king of Israel. If you turn and direct your attention to this chapter found within the book of Second Samuel you will read of an incredibly dark and dangerous time period during the life of David—a dark and dangerous time that came at a time when kings went forth to battle. Consider if you will the words which are found within this particular chapter beginning with the first verse of this chapter:

“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittites? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child. And David sent to Joab, sating, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. And then they had told David, saying Uriiah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? Why then didst thou not go down unto thin house? And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house. And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also” (2 Samuel 11:1-17).

When you read the words which are found within the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find that at the time when kings would normally go forth to war, and when kings would normally go out to battle, David sent Joab instead. Please don’t miss the significance of what is taking place here at this point within the life of David. As you read the words found within this chapter you will not only find David sending Joab unto battle while he remained behind, but you will also find that even after Joab had won a great victory against the children of Ammon, David chose to abide and remain in the city of Jerusalem. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to the words which are found within this passage, for it bears a strong connection to the words which Moses asked the children of Reuben and the children of Gad when they asked for their inheritance on the eastern side of the Jordan River. When Moses heard the request which was presented unto Moses, Eleazar and the princes of Israel you will find that Moses asked these two tribes point blank if their brethren should go forth unto war while they themselves remained behind in the comfort and convenience of land that had already been conquered. This question is one that must be carefully considered, for it strikes at the very heart of what these two tribes experienced on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, as well as that which David king of Israel experienced in a times when kings went forth to war. In the Old Testament book of Numbers it is suggested that these two tribes of the congregation of the children of Israel did not want to pass over the Jordan River to take an inheritance among their brethren, as well as within land that still needed to be conquered, while in the book of Second Samuel we find that in the time when kings went forth to battle, David himself chose to remain behind in the comfort, the security, and the ease of Jerusalem. Scripture is unclear why David chose to go forth unto battle with Joab and with the army of Israel, and we are left to speculate and wonder what caused him to remain behind. Perhaps because he had spent his entire life from a youth until then engaged in conflict, warfare and battle he grew tired of the conflict and grew tired of the battle. It might be that David had lost any desire and will to take up the sword and to lead his armies in battle, and chose instead to remain behind in the city of Jerusalem while Joab led the armies of Israel forth into battle.

It’s interesting to note that when David sought to build a house for the LORD where the Ark of the Covenant would rest, and where the children of Israel could come and worship before the LORD their God, the prophet Gad came unto David and declared unto him that because he was a man of much violence, bloodshed and warfare, he could not build a house unto and for the Lord. We must recognize and realize the tremendous significance of this particular reality, for it shines a tremendous light on the life which David lived—not only during his time as a youth when he slew a lion and a bear, but also when he confronted and defeated Goliath, as well as led successful campaigns in battle against the Philistines for Saul king of Israel. What’s more, is that even when David and those men who had come unto him at the Cave of Adullam moved from the cave and began dwelling in Ziklag, both he and those men who were with him continued to march forth in conquests of battle and warfare against various peoples within the earth at that time. The entire narrative of the life of David was one of his being a man of worship, and his being a man after the very heart of God, however, the narrative of his life was also one of tremendous and intense warfare, conflict and battle. David was no stranger to the battlefield, and David was no stranger to taking up the sword and confronting his enemies in battle, which is what makes the words in the eleventh chapter of the book of Second Samuel so intriguing and captivating. At the time when kings would normally go forth to battle David would choose to remain behind in the city of Jerusalem—behind the walls of the city, in the comfort of his palace, and even in the comfort of his own home. We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for it shines a tremendous amount of light on this particular time period within the life of David. Here again, we aren’t sure, nor are we certain what would have prevented David from going forth unto the battle—particularly during a time when kings would go forth to battle—however, we do know that David chose to remain behind in the city of Jerusalem, while he sent Joab his general and commander in his stead. What’s more—is that even after Joab and the army of Israel had secured a great victory against the children of Ammon, David abode in the city of Jerusalem still, and did not join Joab, nor the army of Israel.

I can’t help but notice a strong and apparent link between the narrative which is found in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, as well as the words which are found in the thirty-second chapter of the book of Numbers, for while Moses was speaking unto the tribes of Gad and Reuben, he asked them if their brethren should go forth unto battle while they themselves chose to remain behind in a place of rest and ease. This reality is found in more than just the narrative of David king of Israel in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, for even when David assumed that Uriah would go home unto his house and unto his wife, he responded the next day that he could not go in unto his house, nor go in unto his wife to lie with her while the Ark of the Covenant was in the battlefield, and while Joab and the army of Israel were on the battlefield. This is something that is worth considering, for Uriah was unwilling to go in unto comfort and ease while Joab, the army of Israel, and his brethren were out on the battlefield engaging in conflict and warfare with the enemies of Israel. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for Uriah was of such integrity that while the Ark of the Covenant was on the battlefield with Joab and the army of Israel, he could not go into his house, nor go in unto his wife to lie with her. That which we read and find concerning Uriah the Hittite is actually quite a contrast to that attitude and mindset which David the king had, for while kings, generals and armies went forth to battle—David himself chose to remain behind in the city of Jerusalem where he would experience comfort and ease. The attitude and mindset of Uriah is a stark indictment of that mindset which was found to be present within the heart and mind of David, for while Uriah wasn’t willing to experience a period of comfort and ease while his brethren and the army of Israel was out in battle, David not only chose to remain behind in the city of Jerusalem, but we also find him walking atop the roof of his palace at night, and even engaging in adultery and fornication with Bathsheba—that woman who was another man’s wife. In a time when kings should have and did in fact go forth to battle David chose to remain behind within his palace, and even managed to find time to engage in an act of adultery and fornication when he should have been taking up the sword against the enemies and adversaries of the children of Israel. What a strong and stark contrast between David king of Israel and Uriah the Hittite, for Uriah wasn’t willing to enjoy the comforts and ease of his home—and even enjoy the comfort of his bed, and his own wife. If his brethren, if the army of Israel, if Joab, and if the Ark of the Covenant was out on the battlefield in the midst of the battle then he would and could not in good conscience go home unto his wife and enjoy a night of passion, comfort and ease.

When you consider the words which are written and recorded within the thirty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find the children of Reuben and the children of Gad coming unto Moses on the eastern edge of the Jordan River in the plains of Moab—in land and territory which has already been conquered—and not only asking to receive their inheritance on that side of the river, but also not to pass over the Jordan River. The underlying motive and reason why these two tribes had no interest or desire to cross over the Jordan River is unclear, and we are left to wonder if their motive was simply related to their having wandered in the wilderness for the past forty years. Perhaps they had grown tired and weary from wandering in the wilderness for forty years and they were simply looking for the ability to rest. Perhaps after they had engaged in the battles against the king of Canaan, as well as Og king of Bashan, and Sihon king of Heshbon, these two tribes had had enough of conflict and warfare. It might very well be that the land on the eastern edge of the Jordan River was in fact good and pleasant unto the eyes, and was suitable for their cattle and livestock, and I can’t help but wonder if these two tribes looked over the land and territory on the eastern edge of the Jordan River the same way Lot did when he and Abraham agreed to part ways in the midst of the land of Canaan. Is it possible that these two tribes looked upon the land which was on the eastern edge of the Jordan River and found it to be suitable and pleasant for both their livestock and families, and instead of having to pass over the Jordan River, they would simply remain on the eastern edge of the Jordan and receive their inheritance. What makes this particular reality is not only the possibility of these two tribes wanted to receive their inheritance before the other ten tribes received theirs, as well as possibly being tired and weary from wandering through the wilderness, and even spending the final months before finally entering into the land engaging in battle and conflict with enemies on this side of the river. I have to admit that I cannot escape the tremendous and incredible fact that these two tribes from among the congregation of the children of Israel wanted to remain in the place of victory and triumph rather than engage in future victory and triumph. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder if there is a fine line between victory and triumph and fatigue and weariness. Is it possible that one of the mean reasons—if not the main reason—David remained in Jerusalem during the time when kings go out to war is because he was living in that place between triumph and fatigue, and between victory and rest? Is it possible that David enjoyed the relative peace, comfort and security that had been secured with previous battles that had been fought and previous victories that had been won?

THE FINE LINE BETWEEN VICTORY AND FATIGUE! THE FINE LINE BETWEEN TRIUMPH AND REST! SMITING THE KING OF CANAAN! SMITING OG KING OF BASHAN! SMITING SIHON KING OF HESHBON! SMITING THE MIDIANITES! CONFRONTING THE AMORITES! CONFRONTING THE MIDIANITES! I have to admit that this concept of there being a fine line between victory and fatigue and triumph and rest is absolutely captivating when you take the time to think about it. In all reality, I cannot escape the idea that perhaps one of the greatest reasons David king of Israel remained in Jerusalem during a time when Kong’s went out to war might very well have been because he found himself in the place of victory and fatigue. Please note that what I mean by that is that while David has spent much of his life from his youth up to this point steeped and engaged in some type of warfare and conflict. If you take the time to read and study his life you will find that pretty much from the time of Goliath David was engaged and entrenched in conflict and warfare, for immediately following David’s victory overt Goliath he was enlisted in the service of the king and within the army of Israel. What’s more is that you will recall that David was given the task of obtaining one hundred foreskins from among the Philistines—a task and assignment which David not only accepted, but also successfully completed. From that time onward we find David engaged in battles and conflicts against the enemies of Israel and of the Lord. Even when David was fleeing and running for his life from the murderous hand and threats of Saul David was still engaged in conflict and battle. This is especially true when you think about and consider the fact that it was while he and his men were out making raids and engaging in battle that the Amalekites entered into Ziklag and not only burned the city, but also took their women and children captive. After hearing from and obtaining approval from the Lord David bagged in conflict against the Amalekites and not only defeated them, but also recovered everything that was taken and stolen from them. Eventually there would come a time when David would become king of the nation and kingdom of Israel, and it would be during and under the reign of David that the nations, kingdoms and peoples round about the kingdom of Israel were subdued before David and the army of Israel. If Joshua led the congregation of the children of Israel in successful battle and conflict against the enemies and adversaries within the Promised Land to take possession of it as an inheritance then David successfully led the army of Israel in battle against the enemies and adversaries round about the kingdom of Israel that the people and kingdom of Israel might experience rest from their enemies on all sides. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for it dramatically impacts and affects our thinking along the lines of the fine line between victory and fatigue.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely incredible and tremendous reality that there is indeed an incredibly fine line between victory and fatigue, as well as between triumph and rest. At this particular time when the kings of the earth would go out to battle, David would choose to remain behind within the city of Jerusalem and would choose to send Josh before the armies of Israel to engage the nations and kings in battle. Whats more, is that even when Juan and the army of Israel secured a great victory against Moab David would still remain within the city of Jerusalem and would not go out to the battle. It has already been mentioned that the reason why David might have chosen to remain in Jerusalem during a time when Kong’s went out to battle was because he had engaged in so much conflict and so much warfare and had experienced great victories that he was simply tired, and perhaps even weary and fatigued from all the struggle he faced. What’s more, is that you will understand from the narrative and account of the life of David that it was during his life and under his reign that the nation and kingdom of Israel would experience great rest from their enemies round about the kingdom. What we must recognize and understand is how that rest was created in the fires of conflict and battle, and was secured by triumph over the nations and peoples round about the kingdom of Israel. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close and careful attention to this reality, for there is not a doubt in my mind that perhaps the single greatest reason David remained in the city of Jerusalem at a time when Kong’s went out to war was because he was not only in a place of fatigue, tiredness and weariness, but he was also a place of relative rest, security and ease. At this point within and during the life of David the king of Israel we find great victories and triumphs having been won under his command, and even by and through his sword as he led the army of Israel in battle against the enemies of Israel. After having spent so much time in his life engaged in conflict and battle against his enemies, as well as against the enemies and adversaries of the Lord and His people, David was undoubtedly tired and weary from the conflict and struggle and simply wanted to remain behind as others went out to engage the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle. After spending so much time in conflict and battle against his enemies, as well as against the enemies of the people of God—perhaps David was tired and fatigued within his soul, and most certainly within his body, and it was this hat caused him to remain behind within the city of Jerusalem.

Taking this reality concerning there being a fine line between victory and fatigue, as well as triumph and rest I feel it is absolutely necessary to think about and consider it in light of the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad, for while the congregation of the children of Israel were encamped in the plains of Moab these two tribes came unto Moses, unto Eleanor the high priest and son of Aaron, as well as unto the princes of Israel in order that they might make a single request of them. The request of these two tribes was not only that they not pass over the Jordan River, but also that they be given their inheritance on the eastern side of the Jordan River. These two tribes did not want to have an inheritance with and among the rest of the congregation or the children of Israel west of the Jordan River, and instead sought and desired to obtain their inheritance in the eastern side of the Jordan River. The more I think about and the more I consider this reality the more I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by the fact that these two tribes perhaps found themselves in the same place as David king of Israel found himself in—that place of victory and fatigue, as well as that place of triumph and and rest. I think about and consider the tremendous reality of these two tribes of the congregation of the children of Israel and I can’t help but think about and consider that they themselves were in a completely different place than their fathers and that previous generation were. If you read and study the history of the congregation of the children of Israel you will find that while they did in fact engage in conflict against the Amalekites in the wilderness, they experienced no further conflict within the wilderness. Concerning the generation of their fathers who had the chance to rise up and enter into the land of Canaan to take possession of the land, they not only rebelled against the command of the Lord by shrinking back in fear, but they also murmured and complained against Moses and against the Lord because of the report ten of the twelve spies brought back unto the entire congregation. That first generation had more than six hundred thousand men who were numbered as those who could go forth into battle and engage the enemies and adversaries of Israel in conflict and warfare, and yet they chose to shrink back in fear before the land of promise—much like they shrank back in fear before the Lord and His presence upon the mountain of God in the wilderness. That first generation was one that knew the signs, knew the wonders, knew the judgments of God within the land of Egypt, and they knew the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea as He drowned and destroyed the Egyptian army beneath and with the waters of the Red Sea, however, they never knew conflict, nor did they know and understand battle and warfare.

This actually brings me to a very important place within this writing and one that is an incredible side note from the topic covered within this writing. If you study the narrative and account of that first generation within the wilderness you will find that while they had experienced the signs, wonders and judgments of the living God within the land of Egypt, they weren’t a generation which knew, nor were even familiar with conflict, warfare, struggle and battle. Despite the fact that first generation witnessed and beheld the salvation of the living God at the waters of the Red Sea as the LORD drowned and destroyed their enemies beneath the waters of the sea, they were a generation that neither knew conflict, nor knew struggle and battle. That first generation was well acquainted with the provision of the LORD as the LORD provided bread from heaven that they might eat and be satisfied, and yet they knew very little concerning conflict, struggle and battle. That first generation knew the provision of the living God as He caused water to come forth from the rock in the wilderness, however they did not know, nor were they aware of conflict, struggle and warfare. They witnessed and beheld the presence and glory of the living God as He descended atop the mountain in the wilderness in a consuming fire, and with thick clouds and darkness, and yet they did not know conflict, struggle, warfare and battle. They had witnessed and observed the glory and presence of the living God there in the wilderness as they heard the voice of God speaking unto Moses from atop the mountain, and yet they did not know conflict, warfare, struggle and battle. Aside from the brief confrontation they had with Amalek after coming out of the land of Egypt and from their slavery, bondage and oppression, that first generation knew nothing of conflict, warfare, and battle, but instead knew only about the provision of the living God. Moreover, that first generation knew the power and presence of the living God, which was evidenced and manifested at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness, as well as through their various journeys in the wilderness. That first generation knew the tremendous activity of the living God among them within the earth, yet they knew very little of their own activity, their own role, and their own part to play in the narrative of the land of Canaan and the conquest thereof. Even when they were given the chance and opportunity to rise up and enter into the land that they might take possession of it as their inheritance, they chose to murmur and complain against Moses and against the Lord instead. They were given every opportunity to rise up and enter into the land of Canaan and take possession of it by driving out their enemies, adversaries and the inhabitants of the land, and yet they chose to shrink back in fear before the land of promise—and even before the inhabitants of the land with their walled cities and strong defenses.

It’s absolutely necessary that we think about and consider this, for it brings me to an incredibly interesting place concerning the people of God and those among us within many of our churches and houses of worship. I sit here this morning and I can’t help but get the strong sense that we might need to beware of those who might know the provision of the living God within their lives, yet they have not known and do not know conflict, struggle and battle within their lives. We might be incredibly wise to beware of those who might very well know the power of God within their lives, and yet they know absolutely nothing about conflict, struggle and battle against their enemies and adversaries. There are those among us who might know the signs, wonders and judgments of the living God, and yet when it comes to having a knowledge of conflict, struggle and battle, they know absolutely nothing. That first generation not only knew the power, the presence and the provision of the living God who delivered them out of the land of Egypt and brought them through the waters of the Red Sea, and yet when they were given the chance and opportunity to enter into the land which was sworn on oath and according to promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they chose to cower and shrink back in fear before the land and before the enemies and adversaries which were present in the midst of the land. Oh, I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there might be those among us within this generation, and those among us in our churches and houses of worship who might know the power and presence of the living God, and might even know the living God as One who has taken care of everything for them within their lives, and yet they have never known what it was like to bear the responsibility of picking up the sword and engaging themselves in battle. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that there was an entire generation which knew the power, the provision and presence of the living God, and yet they did not know conflict, they did not know struggle, nor did they know battle or warfare in the midst of the wilderness. Sure they knew what it was like to hunger and sure they knew what it was like to thirst, however, they knew nothing of needing to take up the sword and engage their enemies in conflict and warfare. Even when they were given the chance and opportunity to enter into the land of Canaan and take possession of the land through subduing the inhabitants who dwelt within the land, they chose to remain and abide in that place of fear and complaining rather than taking up the sword against their enemies and adversaries. I have said it once already, and I would say it again, for we must be wary of those who might very well know the power and provision of the LORD and yet who can speak absolutely nothing about conflict, struggle and battle, for they have not experienced, nor have they known it.

If you study that second generation of the congregation of the children of Israel which were present in the plains of Moab, you will find that they were a completely different generation from that first generation. The generation which stood before Moses in the plains of Moab might not have known the deliverance of the living God in the land of Egypt, and the signs, wonders and judgments He executed in the land of Egypt, however they did in fact know conflict, struggle, warfare and battle. They might not have known the salvation of the LORD their God at the waters of the Red Sea as their fathers did, and how the living God had destroyed the Egyptian army beneath the waters of the Red Sea, but they did know conflict, struggle and battle against their enemies and adversaries. They might not have known the presence and glory of the living God as He descended upon the mountain of God in the wilderness, yet they were a generation that knew conflict, struggle, warfare and battle. If you study the narrative and history of this second generation you will find and discover that more than once on the eastern edge of the Jordan River they knew conflict, struggle, warfare and battle as they engaged the enemy and adversary in battle. If you study the history and narrative of this second generation you will find that in a short period of time they engaged four distinct and four different enemies on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. As you read the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find that they first engaged the king of Canaan in conflict and battle after he had taken some of them as prisoners, and how they not only defeated and overthrew him, but also recovered all those which were taken prisoner by him. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the words which are found within this Old Testament book you will find that this second generation engaged in conflict against Sihon king of Heshbon, as well as Og king of Bashan—two kings of the Amorites which were present on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. Even more than this, you will find that the living God gave Moses the command that this second generation should enter into and engage in conflict against Midian that they might overthrow them on account of what Midian did against the children of Israel in the wilderness and enticed them at Peor with fornication, idolatry and wickedness in the sight of the living God. You will find in the thirty-first chapter of this Old Testament book that the congregation of the children of Israel destroyed and overthrew all the kings of MIdian, and even put all their sons to death by the sword. By the time you come to this particular chapter you will find the congregation of the children of Israel having engaged in more conflict in such a short period of time than their fathers did during and throughout the forty years they wandered in the wilderness.

This second generation which emerged in the wilderness after the first generation perished because of their rebellion and transgression against the living God would know a tremendous amount of conflict, struggle and battle against enemies and adversaries on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, for not only had they confronted Midian, but they had also confronted the Amorites as well. Oh please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely tremendous and incredible reality, for this reality dramatically impacts the line of thought that is found within this writing. This second generation would know what it was like to engage in conflict and battle against enemies and adversaries, and even to put sons and fathers to death in order that they might defeat and overthrow the enemies and adversaries of the living God. The LORD instructed the congregation of the children of Israel to engage in conflict against Midian, and it would be the congregation of the children of Israel that would engage in battle against Og king of Bashan, as well as Sihon king of Heshbon. I am thoroughly convinced that this is absolutely necessary to think about and consider, for while this second generation knew more conflict, warfare and battle than the previous generation did, it is very likely that the two tribes of Gad and Reuben had grown tired, weary and fatigued in battle, and sought to remain on the eastern edge of the Jordan River rather than crossing over the Jordan River and take possession with their brothers and the remaining ten tribes of the children of Israel. What’s more, is that you will find that there were in fact two and a half tribes which took possession on the eastern side of the Jordan River, for half of the tribe of Manesseh took possession on the eastern side of the river together with the tribes of Gad and Reuben. I am wonderfully and powerfully convinced that these two tribes had perhaps grown tired and weary of conflict and battle, and as a direct result of this mindset they desired to remain and abide on the eastern side of the Jordan River where battles had already been won and where victories and triumphs had already been enjoyed and experienced. It was true that these two tribes looked upon the land of Gilead, as well as the land on the eastern side of the Jordan River, and they saw that it was good for livestock and cattle, for they had cattle, yet I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that these two tribes perhaps did not want to fight anymore, and perhaps did not want to take up the sword. I have to ask and wonder what would and what could have happened had Moses not challenged them with going up together with their brethren into the land of Canaan and helping them take possession of the land that they might come into their inheritance.

I sit here this morning and I find myself thinking about and wondering what would and what could have happened to these two tribes had Moses not challenged their thinking and challenged them to march up together with their brethren into the land of Canaan and help them enter into the inheritance that was for them. Is it possible that if Moses had not rebuked these two tribes, and if Moses had not challenged them with remaining and abiding on the eastern edge of the Jordan River that they would have remained on the opposite side of the Jordan River enjoying their inheritance, while their brethren not only crossed over the waters of the Jordan River, but also engaged the enemies and adversaries in battle and conflict. Is it possible that these two tribes would have began enjoying their inheritance in land that had already been conquered and would have laid down their swords while the rest of their brethren entered into the land and took up the sword against their enemies and adversaries? OH it is absolutely and incredibly dangerous to remain and abide in a place of comfort and ease while your brethren before and around you find themselves steeped and mired in conflict, struggle, warfare and battle. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there are those among us within the house of God and within our churches who would much rather enjoy a life of comfort and a life of ease rather than rising up and helping their brethren—their brothers and sisters—engage in conflict, warfare, struggle and battle against their enemies and adversaries. What’s more, is that through the words which are found within this chapter we encounter the tremendous reality that it would take more than ten of the twelve tribes of the congregation of the children of Israel to conquer and subdue the inhabitants of the land, and to take possession of the land. It would take more than ten of the twelve tribes of the congregation of the children of Israel to conquer and subdue the land of Canaan, for it would require the whole assembly and congregation of the children of Israel. This is quite astounding to think about and consider, for it brings us face to face with the reality that it takes brothers and sisters working together to help each other enter into their inheritance, and to take possession of that which is before them. Pause for a moment and think about how many sons and fathers would have been absent the conflict and struggle in the land of Canaan had these two tribes been permitted to remain on the eastern edge of the Jordan River while their brothers went forth to battle and to war. Oh it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that it takes more than just you to take possession of that which is before you, and it takes more than just me to take possession of that which is before me, and we all need each other to enter and step into that which the LORD has placed before us.

SHALL YOUR BROTHERS GO FORTH TO WAR WHILE YOU STAY HERE AND SIT? This question must be carefully considered by those who would read these chapters, for within this question lies the absolutely incredible challenge to us who are present within this generation, and how it is an incredibly dangerous and tragic thing to sit back and watch as your brothers and sisters go forth into battle while you yourself choose to sit back and enjoy a life of comfort, ease, and security. Please note that this isn’t to say that there aren’t times when the LORD has offered and afforded us a period of rest within our lives, and that rest isn’t at all possible within our lives. What I am speaking about and what I am referencing is the reality that there is work to do within and among the body of Christ, and rather than coming alongside our brothers and sisters, and rather than helping our brothers and sisters engage in that which is before them in this life, we choose to remain behind in our own world of comfort, security and ease. These two tribes initially land originally asked Moses that they not cross and pass over the Jordan River and that they be permitted to take possession of land which had already been conquered, and such a request was one that would not be accommodated by Moses the servant of the Lord. Moses heard the request these two tribes asked him, Eleazar the high priest, and even the princes of Israel, and he recognized the reality that for the congregation of the children of Israel to fully and completely take possession of the land which was promised on oath to their fathers, and unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it would take the entire congregation and all the men of war who were able to go forth into battle against the enemies and adversaries of the children of Israel. As a direct result of this reality and knowledge, Moses directly challenged these two tribes to go up together with their brethren across the Jordan River and into the land of Canaan, and to help them take possession of, conquer and subdue the land. If they agreed to march up together with their brethren and help them enter into their inheritance within the land of Canaan, then they would be able to return unto the land and place of their inheritance on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. Moses did in fact agree to give them the land they asked for on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, however, they could not enjoy that which was given unto them as their inheritance until and unless they helped their brothers enter and step into their inheritance. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this fact, for it directly challenges our line of thinking, and directly challenges any sort of selfishness and ease we might have within our hearts, and perhaps even an unwillingness to join the conflict and battle with our brothers and sisters. As I end this writing I would like to present you with the question of what would happen if you began looking around you to see who needed help stepping into and entering into their inheritance, and instead of simply enjoying rest, comfort and ease within your own life, you rose up to help them take possession of what was theirs and what was before them? What would happen if you began looking for those who were having difficulty and trouble stepping into that which was before them, and although you could in fact remain in a place of rest, comfort and ease, you instead chose to take up the sword and help them take possession of that which is before them—that which was given unto and promised them by the LORD.

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