Vol.XVIII No.II Pg.6
April 1981

You're Right, Moses

Curtis Wubbena

Moses knew what he was talking about when he warned the children of Israel, "But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against Jehovah; and be sure your sin will find you out? (Num. 32:23). This admonition was given in response to the promise made by Gad and Reuben. There had been some concern about these two tribes helping the other tribes conquer the land of Canaan. They had decided to settle in the land east of the Jordan. "Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazar, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle" (Num. 32: 1). This was fine, but it was also dangerous. Since they had the land they wanted, would they now let the other tribes go fight without their help? "...Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?" (v. 6). If so there could be some serious consequences. The other tribes could become discouraged (v. 7). God could even send the Israelites back into the wilderness (v.15). The tribes of Gad and Reuben then promised, "...We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones: but we ourselves will be ready armed to go before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place .... we will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance" (v. 16-18).

If they kept their promise all would be fine (v. 20-22). But if they failed to uphold this pledge they would pay dearly. If they selfishly deserted their brethren the sin would catch up with them. Oh how this great spiritual truth is needed today. We need to learn that our sins will find us out.

A story that really drives this point home to me concerns itself with a lie a little boy once told. This boy had a certain cat that he loved dearly. One day the cat was playing where it should not have been. The boy went to remove the cat. Startled by the young lad the animal responded with claws and teeth. The result was a frightened cat and a frightened boy with a gash on his finger. The bleeding had to be stopped. "What to tell mom? I know! Something came out of a hole and bit me on the finger. That will do the job." The story was convincing alright. In fact it may have been too convincing. The mother treated it but she also took him to the doctor. The little boy had no idea that it was not normal for an animal to bite a human being unprovoked. Since the make-believe creature was nowhere to be found there was simply no choice. The rabies series must be started. The next few weeks would be a reminder of the foolishness of telling a lie.

It was not until years later that he read Moses' statement in the book of Numbers. But do you know that he never had a problem understanding what Moses was trying to say. I know that because the little boy was me.

Brethren, let's not kid ourselves! We can sin against our God but we must also bear the consequences. "For whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7).