Bamidbar (Numbers) 30:2–32:42 & 33:1–36:13
In our reading this week, we read two parshiot (two portions) of Scripture, which will conclude our reading from the book of Numbers. As I was reading both portions, I noticed an amazing connection between them regarding the specific instructions which were given to the people of Israel and some important principles for us today.
In my blog on Parashat Mattot (Tribes) from last year, I wrote “God saw the suffering of His people, and in His time, He redeemed them and brought them to the Land He had promised to our Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Land that He described as a ‘good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…’ Yet, the sons of Reuben and Gad (as well as half of the tribe of Menashe) had it “too good” and didn’t want to leave their wealth in order to enter the Promised Land. They saw the plenty that they had and as a result, requested to not move forward with the rest of Israel into the Land which God promised them. Instead of taking hold of God’s promise, they preferred to stay in the same comfortable place they were in”.
There is a lot that I can write about this issue, but one of the main challenges that I find with this story found in Numbers 32:1-42 is not just the fact that they had it too good but rather that they did not trust that what God had for them was better! I also find it frustrating that even Moses compromised here by letting them do as they wanted, rather than insisting they trust God and come to the Land of Promise.
In the reading portion from Parashat Masei, we read how the Land was to be divided among the different tribes (Numbers 34):
Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places; and you shall take inherent of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to inherent it. ‘And you shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the larger you shall give more inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land in which you live. ‘And it shall come about that as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.
In the above verses we see God’s very clear and precise instructions regarding entering and inheriting the Land. However, we also see that God instructs Israel to destroy all of the false gods and idol worshiping within the Land. All that the children of Israel needed to do was obey these commands of the Lord, which required that they trust Him. They needed to trust that He knows what is best for them and that He desires the best for them!
The same is true for us present-day followers of Messiah. God has called us to a greater inheritance, which requires us to trust Him; we must trust that He knows what is best for us, and also trust that He desires only the best for us! Furthermore, just like Israel, we are also required to destroy all of the idols in our lives. We must do away with whatever temptations are in our lives so that they will not cause us to fall away from Him and worship false gods.
What is God calling you to? Will you trust Him that He has a better plan for your life, even if you cannot see it clearly at the moment?
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