Sitting Out the War
Numbers 32:6-7 “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?”
The people of Gad and Reuben did not want to cross over the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land. They wanted to stay where they were on the east side of Jordan. What sounded like an innocent request was actually a request to not have to go to battle. By even mentioning this request, they were discouraging the hearts of the others from wanting to go over into the land and face the enemies there.
1. We are in a battle. This is a spiritual battle, and it is not going to be easy. Sometimes people get surprised when there are difficulties, challenges, and pain as a Christian. We should actually be surprised if it is easy to serve God. God tells in His Word:
- 2 Timothy 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
- Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
- 1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”
2. We must stick together in the battle. Everyone is needed in this battle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil. We are responsible to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is a huge undertaking and every man is needed. When a Christian chooses to resign from the battle and does not get involved, he can greatly discourage the hearts of others who are headed into battle. This is the reason why Moses said in Numbers 32:23 “Be sure your sin will find you out.” It is a sin for us to discourage others – that is why we should not sit out the war.
3. We must encourage one another. Serving the Lord is not easy; it is challenging. We need encouragement from our brothers in Christ. Often, there is so much bickering and fighting amongst the ranks of Christian soldiers that they have no energy to fight the real enemy! Let us repent of our negative attitudes, our discouraging spirit, and our anger toward one another. Let us put our eyes on Jesus, on the job ahead, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Let me ask you today:
- What is your attitude toward hardship? Are you surprised when trouble comes? Do you endure hardness as a good soldier?
- Are you doing your part? Are you involved in the thick of the battle? Or are you discouraging others by sitting on the sidelines while others go forth to war?
- How are you encouraging your fellow soldiers? What can you do today to help someone continue on in the battle?
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