This week I preached from Numbers 32 on God’s Will vs. Our Desires. The children of Israel are preparing to cross into Canaan, the land God was giving them. God’s plan was for all tribes to enter Canaan and divide it among the twelve.
As they are preparing, two of the tribes ask if they can settle east of the Jordan in a land that they have already conquered. Here are my five sermon takeaways.
You Can’t Always Believe What You See
They saw that the area was suitable for their flocks and herds. Their eyes drew them away from the place God intended them to be. Our eyes are deceitful. We even have warnings in popular sayings about trusting our eyes, such as “don’t judge a book by the cover.” Samuel said that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Our eyes attract us to things that are not always in our best interest.
Attraction and Contentment Do Not Always Correlate
The things you are attracted to by your eyes are not always the ones that provide the most contentment. That convertible sports car may look great, but a minivan or SUV will probably offer the most contentment for a family of six. When we allow attraction to determine our direction, we will often be disappointed in the long run.
Choices Create A Chain Reaction
There are very few individual choices that do not affect other people. If they chose to stay, Moses warned that the others might become discouraged and not move forward and thus make God angry. They honored their commitment to their brothers by choosing to fight, but they left their wives and children in danger. Choosing to stay on the east side would eventually lead them to be captured. The immediate choice may be satisfying, but the long-term effects can be devastating.
Never Compromise The Will of God
It was clear God’s intention was for the entire nation of Israel to enter Canaan. Everything is not always clear. This directive was clear. Some things can be debated; other things are nuanced. But some things are clear, and we should honor those. Obedience is not legalism. Obedience is pleasing to God, and negotiating a compromise always has consequences.
Choose Responsibilities Over Rights
Rights are self-centered. Responsibilities are other-centered. Just because you have a right to do something does not mean you should do it. We have a right to free speech, but that does not mean it is responsible to say whatever we choose. It is challenging to have influence and make a difference if the only way we think is self-centered.
What were your takeaways Sunday? You can catch up here if you missed the sermon.