"SHALL YOUR BRETHREN GO TO WAR WHILE YOU SIT HERE?" Numbers 32:6 INTRODUCTION 1. Prior to Israel's occupation of the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad wanted to settle in the land east of the Jordan 2. Their request and Moses' response are found in Num 32:1-27 , and have practical application to our service in the church today [Let's begin our study with a review of...] I. THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT IN NUMBERS A. REUBEN AND GAD EXPRESS THEIR DESIRE... 1. They were two tribes with much livestock - Num 32:1 a 2. They saw that the land of Jazer and Gilead (the Transjordan) was good for livestock - Num 32:1 b 3. So they requested to be given the land as their possession, and not taken over the Jordan river with the rest of Israel - Num 32:2-5 B. MOSES RESPONDS... 1. "Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here?" - Num 32:6 a. Shall they be at ease, while their brethren must fight? b. Was it not with their brethren's help that the land they desire is now available? 2. How Moses viewed their request... a. They would discourage their brethren - Num 32:7 b. They would be no different than the ten spies 1) Who discouraged Israel by their report - Num 32:8-9 2) Who aroused God's anger against them - Num 32:10-13 c. They would be a brood of sinful men, and increase God's anger against Israel - Num 32:14 d. They would in essence destroy God's people! - Num 32:15 C. AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED... 1. Reuben and Gad offer to send their soldiers to help possess the Promised Land - Num 32:16-19 2. Moses agrees, but with a stern warning - Num 32:20-23 a. The land they desire will be theirs if they carry through with their offer b. But if they don't keep their agreement... 1) They will have sinned against the Lord! 2) Be sure their sin will find them out! [In 1 Co 10:11 we are told that what happened to Israel serves as an example to us, and was written for our admonition. With this in mind, let's consider the following...] II. APPLICATION FOR US TODAY A. LIKE ISRAEL, WE ARE AT WAR... 1. A spiritual war, to be sure - 2 Co 10:3-5 2. A war against Satan, and the spiritual forces of wickedness - Ep 6:10-18 -- The Lord's army (the church) fights this battle as her members serve in such areas as evangelism, edification and benevolence B. MUCH HAS BEEN DONE UP TO THE PRESENT... 1. Many have stood for the truth in the past a. Coming out of denominationalism b. Standing firm against innovations which would lead to apostasy 2. Making it possible for us today: a. To know the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ b. To worship God in spirit and truth c. To enjoy the blessings of God's family 3. But the war wages on! a. Every thought must be brought captive to Christ - 2 Co 10:5 b. We must continue to stand strong against the wiles of the devil - Ep 6:11 C. SHALL OUR BRETHREN GO TO WAR WHILE WE SIT HERE? 1. By letting others do the work of the Lord's army? 2. Shall we just sit, enjoying the efforts of others? a. The efforts of those who labored in the past? b. The efforts of those who labor now, making it possible for us to enjoy the blessings of fellowship and worship? -- If not actively involved in some phase of the Lord's work, that is exactly what we are doing! D. IF WE ARE SITTING, WHAT IS THE EFFECT? 1. We discourage our brethren! - cf. Num 32:7 a. Who often must carry the burden alone b. Who easily get "burned out" trying to do it all 2. Lack of involvement is just as detrimental as active opposition! a. The slothful is a brother to him who destroys - Pro 18:9 b. If we do not gather, then we scatter; there is no neutral ground! - Mt 12:30 -- Like just sitting in a wagon, instead of pulling or pushing, we hinder its progress! E. WHAT WILL BE THE END RESULT? 1. We will have sinned against the Lord! - cf. Num 32:23 a a. For what one does or doesn't do for the church, it affects Christ! As Paul learned when he persecuted the church - Ac 9:1-5 b. Yes, when we sin against the brethren, we sin against Christ! - 1 Co 8:12 2. Be sure that our sin will find us out! a. It will come out in the growth of the congregation 1) Proper growth is possible only if ALL are doing their part - Ep 4:15-16 2) Growth may occur with inactive members, but the growth will be stunted, retarded, handicapped! b. It will come out on the Day of Judgment! 1) When we have to answer for our laziness! 2) Remember the parable of The Talents? - cf. Mt 25:24-30 CONCLUSION 1. When Reuben and Gad realized the effect of sitting while their brethren went to war, they immediately made arrangements to do their part a. Moses was even patient with them, allowing them time to care for their families - Num 32:24 b. They in turn promised to do their part in going to war - Num 32: 25-27 -- Certainly we can be patient in helping our brethren prepare for "war", if need be 2. But may we all determine not to rest until the work is done, by resolving to be... a. More diligent in the spiritual battle we face! b. More active in whatever area of service for which we are best suited! 3. Let your brethren know that you desire to serve, and not just sit while others work! Are you in the army of Christ, actively engaged in the service of His kingdom?