Numbers 31:32



The Bible says in Numbers 31:32-40, “And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep,[33] And threescore and twelve thousand beeves,[34] And threescore and one thousand asses,[35] And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of woman that had not known man by lying with him.[36] And the half, which was the portion of them that went out to war, was in number three hundred thousand and seven and thirty thousand and five hundred sheep:[37] And the LORD's tribute of the sheep was six hundred and threescore and fifteen.[38] And the beeves were thirty and six thousand; of which the LORD's tribute was threescore and twelve.[39] And the asses were thirty thousand and five hundred; of which the LORD's tribute was threescore and one.[40] And the persons were sixteen thousand; of which the LORD's tribute was thirty and two persons.” Notice in verse forty that part of the booty from defeating the Midianites was slaves. Slavery existed in the Old Testament times. That is just another example of how the New Testament is better than the Old Testament. The Old Testament was harsh: severe punishments could happen at any time. There were often battles in hand-to-hand combat with many casualties. It was kill or be killed. The age that we are in is the best age of all in which to live until we get to the Thousand year reign of Christ.


The Bible says in Numbers 31:40-54, “And Moses gave the tribute, which was the LORD's heave offering, unto Eleazar the priest, as the LORD commanded Moses.[42] And of the children of Israel's half, which Moses divided from the men that warred,[43] (Now the half that pertained unto the congregation was three hundred thousand and thirty thousand and seven thousand and five hundred sheep,[44] And thirty and six thousand beeves,[45] And thirty thousand asses and five hundred,[46] And sixteen thousand persons;)[47] Even of the children of Israel's half, Moses took one portion of fifty, both of man and of beast, and gave them unto the Levites, which kept the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.[48] And the officers which were over thousands of the host, the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, came near unto Moses:[49] And they said unto Moses, Thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one man of us.[50] We have therefore brought an oblation for the LORD, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the LORD.[51] And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of them, even all wrought jewels.[52] And all the gold of the offering that they offered up to the LORD, of the captains of thousands, and of the captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels.[53] (For the men of war had taken spoil, every man for himself.)[54] And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of the congregation, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.” These verses restate the fact that the children of Israel gave to the Lord exactly what He required of them. Notice that verse fifty says that the captains of all the soldiers received an extra offering that was given by every soldier. It says, “We have therefore brought an oblation for the LORD, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the LORD.” Evidently God had blessed them so much with the victory and with the spoils of their efforts that they wanted to give back to God even more than God asked of them. That is the spirit of New Testament giving. The New Testament does not require a specific amount or percentage to be given. It says in Second Corinthians 9:7-8, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.[8] And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” God gives us free will, and thus He allows us to make our own choices in many ways, including how much we give. If the Lord Jesus has taken care of you and blessed you, then certainly the purpose of your heart is to look for ways that your money can add to the work of God and the furtherance of the gospel of Christ. 


The Bible says in Numbers 32:1-13, “Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle;[2] The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying,[3] Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,[4] Even the country which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle:[5] Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.[6] And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?[7] And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?[8] Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land.[9] For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the LORD had given them.[10] And the LORD's anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,[11] Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:[12] Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.[13] And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.” It was almost time to cross the Jordan river and enter into the land of Canaan that God had promised to Abraham and all of his descendants. But two of the twelve tribes wanted to remain on that side of the Jordan River because they thought that land was well fitted to the amount of cattle that they had. At first Moses did not want to grant their request. Moses said that the tribes of Reuben and Gad might not join with the rest of the Israelites when there was war. Moses asked in verse six, “Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?” That tells us that Moses knew very well that wars were in their future, and he wanted to be prepared for those wars. Leaders of countries are neglecting their responsibilities if they do not prepare for war. Love peace and pursue it, but be ready for war. Jesus implied that same thing when He said in describing the age in which we live in Matthew chapter twenty-four, “Their shall be wars and rumors of wars


Another reason that at first Moses did not want Reuben and Gad to stay on the other side of Jordan was that Moses was concerned that it might be a bad example to the other Israelites. That is why Moses referred to the ten spies who discouraged the children of Israel about the Canaanites, and Moses said in verse nine, “they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel.” Moses was well aware of how believers influence other believers. A believer who is not filled with the Spirit can do a lot of damage. Many people stopped going to church and some of them stopped serving the Lord because of some mean or cruel thing that another church-goer said to them. One of the most important things about your life is how you affect or influence others. Look to the Lord Jesus and do not look at people, and then you will not fall into that trap. If people around you are bad examples or are trouble makers, they will not move you because you will be following Jesus. 


The Bible says in Numbers 32:14-15, “And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel.[15] For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.” Moses is thinking about the fact that God would not allow the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the Promised Land except for the two faithful spies, because of the unbelief and fear of the people. Now Moses thinks that if Reuben and Gad do not go over Jordan, that it might displease the Lord and God’s anger might come against all the children of Israel again. Moses was the law-giver. If you lived under the law, you had to always be aware of the possibility of punishments. That is the law: obey or else. Thankfully, because of Jesus, we do not live under the law. We live under grace.


The Bible says in Numbers 32:16-22, “And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:[17] But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.[18] We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.[19] For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward.[20] And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war,[21] And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him,[22] And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.” Family is important, but duty to God and to church is more important. We are in a spiritual warfare, and I keep meeting people who sound like they are true believers, but their family comes first. They have given up on joining with the congregation of believers. Jesus established the church. Jesus said in Matthew chapter eighteen, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The only organization that Jesus created was the church. Jesus told Peter that Jesus’ church would be built upon the rock of Peter’s statement of faith: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Either find a good Bible-teaching church or start one. How else are you going to fulfill this part of Jesus’ teaching? How else are you going to be engaged in the war? If you do not “go to church,” you will not be hearing the spiritual teachings from God’s teacher, you will not be lifting up your heart in spiritual songs in the congregation, you will not be fellowshipping with other Christians in the congregation and therefore will not be helping them with your spiritual gifts, and you will not be praying with other Christians nor have them praying for you. In other words if you put family first to the point of neglecting the congregations of the Lord, you are not properly engaged in the battle, and the rest of Christianity will be weakened because of what you are not doing. Jesus said that following Him should come even before family relationships. Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me


The children of Reuben and Gad had their priorities right. They said in verse eighteen, “We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.”        





Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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