Responding to Rebuke // Numbers 32:16-27
Gearing Up for Battle (32:16–19)
The Reubenites and Gadites heed Moses’s rebuke and respond with a compromise. They say they will first build pens for their livestock and cities for their women and children and then send their fighting men to the front lines of the conquest of the Promised Land. This is not a grudging response to Moses’s reprimand; it is a genuine acknowledgment of their mistake and a complete change of heart. They realize it is sinful not to cross the Jordan and go into battle with the rest of the community until every one of their brothers and sisters has received what God promised them. It is a humble and repentant response that prevents a greater conflict.
A Conditional Agreement (32:20–27)
Moses agrees to the new terms presented by the two tribes and confirms that they cannot return to their settlement until all of the Promised Land is subdued before the LORD. Moses makes it clear, however, that if they do not hold up their end of the bargain “[their] sin will find [them] out.” This means that God will surely judge them if they do not keep their word. If they fail to accompany their brothers into battle, it will amount to a grievous sin in the eyes of God because they will be turning their backs on His promises and rebelling against His command to go into Canaan and drive out its inhabitants. Moses’s strong warning is intended to protect them from the potentially devastating consequences of disobedience.
– How do you usually respond to correction? Why is it so difficult to respond with humility when we are rebuked?
– Has somebody’s warning ever stopped you from traveling down a very dangerous path? How can you lovingly warn others of the potentially dangerous consequences of their actions?
A LETTER TO GOD:
Father, thank you for the people in my life who lovingly rebuke me when I need it. Help me to respond to correction with humble repentance. Please warn and discipline me when I start straying down the wrong path. Protect me from temptation and lead me in the way everlasting. In Jesus’ name. Amen.