“But if you don’t do this, you will certainly sin against the Lord; be sure your sin will catch up with you. Build cities for your dependents and pens for your flocks, but do what you have promised.””
Numbers 32:23-24 CSB
Numbers 32 tells the story of how some of the tribes of Israel wanted to stay on the west side of the Jordan and claim their inheritance from those conquered lands. Moses initially objects, thinking they are refusing to join in the fight to claim the Promised Land. After all, God had commanded all of them—not just 10 1/2 tribes—to drive out the Canaanites. But the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh assured Moses that they would join the fight until all the land was conquered, and only then go back across the Jordan to settle. In verse 23, Moses binds them to that promise, emphasizing that failure to fight with their brothers would be a sin against God.
Here’s how Spurgeon framed this for the church today:
The iniquity of doing nothing is a sin that is not so often spoken as it should be. It is, sadly, common among professed Christians and needs to be dealt with. The sin is to forget one’s share in the holy war to be carried out for God and for His church…
On Sunday some worshipers care only about feeding their souls. Soul-saving is pushed into the background. Unless we shake off that horrible selfishness and feel that the essence of our religion lies in love; and that one of the first fruits of [love] is to care about the salvation of others, then this text solemnly threatens us.
Beloved, don’t stay on your side of the Jordan. Join the fight.
I am using the Spurgeon Study Bible for my Bible Read Through in 2023. All of the study notes are quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and writing. For more on Charles Spurgeon, click here. The Spurgeon Study Bible is available from Lifeway, Christianbook.com, and Amazon.