Just Shy of God’s Intentions

Numbers 32:5-7 ~ 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?

I love a preacher that challenges me to live better. It was hard at first coming from a fairly liberal attitude into a conservative church that preached Hell hot and Heaven real and both 20 seconds away. I have no clue what it is like being on the battlefield of a foreign country, but I know quite well what it feels like to a foreigner in my own land. When I stepped out for the cause of Christ I became an adversary to many that I had stood in agreement with before salvation. When I heard the truth about Jesus and understood the sacrifice He had made I couldn’t turn back. I was moving forward to that land I’d been promised. I was excited. Heaven was real and I’d not have my mind changed. But not everyone shared my enthusiasm.

Many Christians today live contently on the edge of Jordan. They’re satisfied living just shy of God’s intentions, because that would take commitment. Rueben and Gad parked their families on the land east of Jordan and went halfheartedly over to help take the Promised Land for Israel but only because Moses made them feel guilty. I say they were halfhearted because they left their family on the other side; while they were willing to fight for the cause their minds had to have been on how things were progressing at home. They knew going in that this wasn’t their land, they were going back to the other side.

Halfhearted Christianity has taken its toll on the church. It’s hard to stay committed in church leadership when the army doesn’t even bother to show up. What a fine example the children of Rueben and Gad were given when their father’s left them on the other side. It must have spoken volumes toward their need to be involved in the battle.  Summer time is a real good time to have this conversation when Sunday after Sunday attendance is down, and while family vacations are understood and needful, few people have 3 months of vacation.

Rueben and Gad were unwilling to relinquish their old ways and be fully committed to Israel’s cause and because of it they and their entire family lived just shy of the Promised Land. Just shy of having everything God wanted them to have. The same holds true when we fail to commit to church attendance and involvement in the ministries, we’re living just shy of having everything God wants to give us. It’s an honor and privilege to serve in the army of God, but you can sense Moses’ frustration when he has to say to them “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?”

Don’t for two seconds buy the lie that nobody notices when you’re gone. Folks like me notice! Not because I’m a busy body but because I love you! And your family.  It’s discouraging to church leadership and to the Pastor when half of our heart is missing. Stay faithful! And go all the way for Jesus. Don’t stop just shy of the Promised Land.

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