Numbers 31-32, Psalm 50
Many are familiar with the story of the rich, young ruler and his encounter with Jesus. It appears that he led a life desiring to follow God’s commandments and even cared enough to seek out Jesus to get to that next step in his faith journey. In Matthew 19:16, we read, “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus goes on to tell him to keep the commandments. In 19:20, the young man answers, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Then we read the rest of the story in 19:21-22, “Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” This man could have actually walked with Jesus and been His disciple, but instead, he stopped short. Every day we make a decision to make one step forward in our walk with God or one step backward. Many mistakenly believe that they are pretty good spiritually and can put their walk with God on cruise control. But our walk with God is never static, or unchanging, it is always moving in one direction or the other. When we don’t move forward, we are on the decline. Just like the rich young ruler, many of us miss our God given potential and are satisfied with so much less.
The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh did just that. They did not desire the Promised Land that was promised them by God. They felt the land to the east of the Jordan was good enough. We read this account in Numbers 32:1-5, “Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock;…that indeed the region was a place for livestock,…Therefore they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan.” Wandering for forty years and finally on the brink of the best that God promised them, they like what they see on the east and settle for second best, never settling in the Promised Land. Interestingly and not surprisingly, we will see much later in our reading that these tribes outside the Promised Land were the easiest to pick off by the enemy. Likewise, those who are not diligently moving forward in their walk with God will be the easiest to be attacked. In Matthew 7:7, Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” These words in the Greek are not a one time event. We are to be continually asking, seeking and knocking.
How many Christians feel that they read, pray, give, serve, go to church enough and don’t move on to the next step that God has offered them. Paul exemplifies this desire to keep moving forward in Philippians 3:13-14, “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” There are those who start on the path to heaven, the Promised Land, but never enter like the two and one half tribes above or like the rich young ruler. There are many reasons for this but all seem lacking when compared to the incomparable joy awaiting us in heaven. Many others have committed their life but never experience the full Christian life, settling for second best. Realizing this, may we never settle, but grow in our relationship with Him daily.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: