Numbers 32


Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.

Bible Reading

The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock.

So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, “‘Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon—the land the Lord subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes, let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”‘

Moses said to the Gadites and the Reubenites, “‘Should your fellow Israelites go to war while you sit here? Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land the Lord has given them? This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land. After they went up to the Valley of Eshkol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the Lord had given them. The Lord’s anger was aroused that day and He swore this oath: ‘”Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.'”

The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and He made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in His sight was gone.

– Numbers 32:1-13


In Numbers 32, we have a record of what, without doubt, was a wrong committed by two and a half tribes, of Moses failure in judgment, and what would later prove to be a grave mistake.

Moses first instinct was that this was a repeat of the sins of their fathers. Moses did not seek God’s counsel on this decision.

In this chapter we learn about the devastating consequences of not learning from past mistakes and being willing to compromise God’s word and will.

“No desire of our own for early and easy realization of peace ought to be allowed to interfere with the declared will of God. No policy of compromise can ever justify a modification of a divine method toward the accomplishment of divine purpose.”

– G. Campbell Morgan

The Big Question

Like Moses and the Israelites, we are all guilty of repeating past mistakes and compromising God’s Word and will.

As Christians, when we realize the error of our ways, we can “confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

What does this teach us about God?

What does this teach us about guilt and condemnation?

Conclude in prayer and silence reflecting on what you’ve learned.