Reading today from Numbers chapters 31 – 33.
The observations today will come from chapter 33 verses 50-56.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.'” Numbers 33:50-56 (KJV)
At this point the children of Israel are nearing the time of their entrance into the Promised Land. GOD is preparing them for their entry. As you read the above chapters you will see that there are two tribes plus a half tribe who have requested to stay on the East side of the Jordan River and inherit that land rather than the land on the West of Jordan. Those tribes are Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. They were to send their fighting men across Jordan to fight for the land; or lose their inheritance on the East side. Their preparations were made, the agreement was reached; and then the preparations for the West side were to be made.
In reading the above Scripture text we don’t find the word “If you pass over the Jordan into the land…” It is “When”. So with the LORD this was a sure thing that Israel was to do. When they entered the land they were to drive out the inhabitants; destroy their pictures, images, high places [places of their demon worship], and take the land for their own. Once they possessed the land they were to make it their home.
Once they had driven out the inhabitants they were to divide the land between the tribes and each tribes people. The more people there was in a tribe the more land they would receive. The less people there was in a tribe the less land they were to receive. It was a fair way of dividing the land.
It was by the command of the LORD to drive out the inhabitants, even destroy them, putting an end to the evil of their immorality, and demon worship. Now, some reading this are going to think and say, “This shows how mean and cruel this god of yours is.” Rather, it shows how holy, just and gracious He is. Our LORD has given these people over 400 years to repent and change their ways (Genesis 15:12-16). Now God is cleansing the land and His people in the process.
We must realize that sin is a grievous thing in the eyes of GOD. It is a dreadful thing, and until we see sin as GOD does there is no hope for us.
How do these passages relate to the Christian? Paul the apostle spoke of these things being “ensamples” for the Christian,
“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’ Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:6-12 (KJV)
These also apply to the Christian as an example of how the Christian life is a battle against sin, and the devil who desires to destroy anything which belongs to Christ; he desires to destroy our walk with Christ, therefore we must put on the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6:10 ff. We must drive out the evil desires of the flesh. We must hate what is evil as GOD does and love what is good and holy. Anyone who would tell us, “The Christian life is a breeze; it’s easy” is a bald faces liar; or just doesn’t know what they are talking about. It is a battle. The inheritance is in Christ Jesus. We are “joint heirs with Him” (Romans 8:17).
Remember to read Numbers 31 – 33 for today.
-Tim A. Blankenship