In our last post (Tammuz 5776 (2016) we learned that Reuben took his eyes off the prize (Phil 3:14). The sad thing is his descendants also followed in his footsteps… the tribe of Reuben also lost their inheritance. Wrong vision can cost you your inheritance.
As they were about to enter into the Promise land… the tribe of Reuben chose not to cross over. They stayed on the east side of the Jordan. They made a choice not to move towards their inheritance. After 40 years in the wilderness, Israel was getting close to the Promise Land. But they had to cross through Amorite territory in order to get there
They were attacked by two Amorite warlords named Sihon and Og (Numbers 21:21-35).
The Amorites were most likely the largest of the 7 enemy nations in Canaan. They were large and powerful and controlled much of the Promise Land. Their center of power was Cheshbon which means “reasoning”. The Amorites were a warlike tribe and their name means to “say or speak” from a root word meaning to speak against or boast of self…. it includes all evil speaking, boasting, slander, boasting, murmuring, complaining, grumbling, blaming God, etc. This translates as “a talker and a slayer.”
This enemy uses his words to reason with you and cause you to doubt what God has promised you or to settle for something less based on natural reasoning…. which is exactly what the tribes of Reuben, Gad and 1/2 the tribe of Manasseh did.
King Sihon refused to allow the Israelites to pass through their land. Sihon means tempestuous and also means warrior. He gathered all his people together and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. Jahaz is from a root meaning to stomp. It was here Sihon and his men fully intended to stomp out the Israelites but instead, the Israelites defeated them with the edge of a sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok. Arnon comes from a root word meaning a ringing cry, or joy. Jabbok comes from a root meaning luxuriant or abundant… to pour forth.
Like Sihon, we have a violent, raging enemy that opposes us, desiring to stomp us out. He attempts to target our thoughts and reason with us…..”Has God really said?”
Just like the Israelites defeated their enemy with the edge of the sword, so can we. The word edge in Hebrew is mouth. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. By using our mouths to wield the sword against this enemy we will defeat him and take possession of territory that he has illegally stolen from us. Not listening to his evil words but declaring the promises of God as yes and amen in Christ. We will regain our joy and abundance.
Then Og, king of Bashan, went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei (meaning might or strength). Deuteronomy 3:11 describes King Og of Bashan (meaning fruitful) as ‘the last of the remnant of the Rephaim’ and notes that his iron bed measured 13.5 ft by 6 ft. Most likely, Og is not a personal name but a title given to the Canaanite king meaning man of valor. God told Moses not to fear Og because He has delivered him into their hands. Israel fought Og and conquered their land. No matter how big or strong the enemy appears to be he is a defeated foe… stripped of all his power (Col 2:15). Declare your victory over him and take back your fruitfulness and strength.
The Amorite territory was never part of the Promise Land. Israel had told the Amorites that they did not want to possess their land and asked permission to cross over. But Reuben looked around and said “We’ll take this for our land” They chose the territory of Sihon and Og (Num 32:33) over the Promise Land God had chosen for them.
Because of this, they had continual trouble:
- They were attacked by their pagan neighbors
- They were drawn into the idolatry of their neighbors
- One of the first tribes to be taken into captivity
Why did the tribe of Reuben settle for a land that was not the Promise Land?
“The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock” Numbers 32:1
They reasoned based on their natural vision, forsaking the vision God had for them. The land of Gilead is lush and fertile; they saw that and thought, Why should we go any further? They saw something…. it looked good, and they were willing to stop short of what God had promised to them in order to have it. What they saw was beautiful and bountiful…..however, what they saw was not the Blessing that God had for them.
In this decision, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh divided the nation. They separated themselves from the Blessing of the land of Canaan. As a result they were farther from the tabernacle and much closer to the influence of the pagan nations that surrounded them.
God has promises for us that He desires we step into. But to make this shift will require that we be willing to lay aside all natural reasoning… stop looking at things in the natural and step into faith….. like the children of Israel to go to a new place where we’ve never gone before.
What has God promised you?…. health, healing, prosperity, etc? Don’t settle for anything less! In a time of transitioning not everyone will be willing to move forward with you. Be willing to leave behind the familiar to cling to God’s promises even if it’s unfamiliar territory for you.