by Rev Joel Yong
Numbers 32:16-20 GW
Then the tribes of Gad and Reuben came up to Moses and said, “Allow us to build stone fences for our livestock and cities for our families here. Then we’ll be ready to march in battle formation ahead of the other Israelites until we have brought them to their land. Meanwhile our families will live in walled cities, safe from the other people who live here. We will not return to our homes until every Israelite has received his own land. We won’t take possession of any land on the other side of the Jordan River, to the west and beyond. We already have our land here, east of the Jordan.” Moses answered, “Do what you have said. In the LORD’s presence have all your armed men get ready for battle.
Gad and Reuben wanted land in a certain place. But Moses was worried that if they would settle early before going to the Promised Land then they would not rally to the aid of Israel’s army in the battles for the Promised Land. Thus the strength of the army would be depleted.
But Gad and Reuben promised that they would see through the task of assisting their fellow Israelites before returning to their chosen lot of land.
They made a promise and were prepared to see it through to completion. Even if it meant some homesickness and inconvenience on their end- they would see it through. That was their intention. So Moses agrees to their request with a proviso that they actually do what they say.
This is important because not everyone follows through on what they promise at an earlier season.
Yet if Gad and Reuben do what they promise then it shows they are Israelites not only because of the spoils and blessings but also because of a shared conviction that they are the People of God … chosen to take possession of the Promised Land.
I pray that as a church we would be a people united – not only for what we can get out of this community but also out of a common conviction that we are the chosen of God with a mission to be salt and light in the world.