Cross the River

Numbers 32: 5

“If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”

There are some passages of the Bible that just make you grieve. This is one of those for me but it is good for us to read it and learn from it. The background here is that the Israelites were on their journey from Egypt to the promised land. They were led by Moses. As the nation of Israel passed through the lands of Jazer and Gilead two of the twelve tribes, seeing that the land was good, petitioned Moses to give them this land rather than making them continue across the Jordan. Do you know what was across the Jordan? Yes, the promised land.

Yahweh promised the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey, a land ordained and set apart for them, the land of promise. Canaan, the land across the river, held all of that good promise but these two tribes wanted to stop. They wanted to quit. They gave up on the promise of God just shy of everything God promised them. How very tragic.

Why is this story in the Bible? It is there for our edification. There is nothing we can do to go back and help those two tribes but in the telling of their story, perhaps they can help us. How often have we stopped just short of the promise? Have we gotten tired, lost hope or our will to go on and stopped shy of God’s promise to us? It is easy to do but our God is a god of hope. In Him is our hope and the ability to go on.

The key to maintaining the strength to continue is to not rely on our strength or our will. Our strength is in the Lord and it is His good will to lead us by the hand. Our labor, our task is to learn to trust Him and to be led by Him. There are 57 uses of the word “strength” in the Psalms. In the 28th psalm we find this encouragement, “The Lord is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed” (v. 8). Too bad the two tribes didn’t have a revelation of this. We, however, have been given these words in order that we might not lose our strength. We can understand that if we allow God to be our strength, our strong right arm, there is no need for us to get tired and fall short of the prize. Isaiah 57: 13 reads, “But he who takes refuge in Me shall inherit the land, and shall possess My holy mountain.”

We have only to take our refuge in the Father and we shall inherit the land and all of the fullness thereof. So, learn to lean on the Father. Use His strength and wisdom. Let Him carry you to the promised land where your life will flow with the proverbial milk and honey.