The warriors, 1,00o from each tribe of Israel, took the territory of five kings. They were obedient to God and inherited the land He promised. They gave God a portion of all plunder. Even the military leaders gave beyond that, gave gold jewelry acquired, boasting testimony of the Lord, not a life lost of the 12,000 .
Obedience. On paper, a few paragraphs. But then: war. These men fought and killed–so there was adrenaline, testosterone, sweat and fury. We see obedience to God = receiving His promise. But they worked the equation weapon to weapon. Obedience in action is active, not passive.
Moses reminds the people where disobedience got them: a forty-year journey in the wilderness.
6 “Do you intend to stay here while your brothers go across and do all the fighting?” Moses asked the men of Gad and Reuben. 7 “Why do you want to discourage the rest of the people of Israel from going across to the land the LORD has given them? 8 Your ancestors did the same thing when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land. 9 After they went up to the valley of Eshcol and explored the land, they discouraged the people of Israel from entering the land the LORD was giving them. 10 Then the LORD was very angry with them, and he vowed, 11 ‘Of all those I rescued from Egypt, no one who is twenty years old or older will ever see the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for they have not obeyed me wholeheartedly. 12 The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they have wholeheartedly followed the LORD.’ Numbers 32:6-12 (NLT).
I read the stops they’d made after leaving Egypt. And I considered the stops in my life that made a journey longer because of disobedience, or passivity. God is patient. He holds time. He knows, too, when my heart is in it.
Another book, another chapter, Elizabeth says to Mary, “You are blessed because you you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:45 (NLT).
Mary replies, soul praising and spirit rejoicing.
Father, praying today that I would be obedient to your command, wholeheartedly, to love–even and especially in the trenches of trial. I hope that my life is always one of soul praising and spirit rejoicing at how faithful and good You are.