Dream word – BEST
“But your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall stay in your cities which I have given you.”
Trading for the transjordan-pondering the ponderosa principle
The tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh were cattlemen with lots of cattle. I mean herd upon herd of moo-cowing cattle, I mean, good grief batman! They had more cattle between them than the Ponderosa ranch could ever cope with. Now, this penchant for collecting cows, was aided and abetted by the fact the land they were presently loitering in, the land on the wrong side of Jordan, was in fact the best of the best of land for cattle. In terms of product and possession, they were exactly where they needed to be, especially since they had cleared out the last of the giants, and his bedstead!
The bravest of these tribes men approached Moses with a trading proposition, which simply said, “Let us stay here, let us settle here and store our wives and cattle right here, then we shall go over the Jordan with our brethren, fully armed into the promised land and fight alongside them until they get their possession.”
Now I say they were brave men and they were, for Moses had already seen a whole generation fall in the desert over the last forty years and knew that their tottering heart of frail belief had been previously far too easily toppled into unbelief causing a curse from an angry God to fall upon the congregation. Moses was well aware of the need for strong hearts and would not put up with anyone who might weaken into a cursing, all the corporate heart of Israel. Yes, Moses took some convincing and the Transjordan took some trading, but eventually their wish was granted to them.
Here in our text, after forty years the Promised Land is open for the people of God to possess, or rather should I say, the people of God are now open to possessing the Promised Land given to them! Now God is reminding the settled 2½ cattlemen tribes of their commitment to go and fight and in the reminding, makes mention of the foundation of their initial main bargaining chip! It’s quite funny really, for I think God is saying “Let’s not go over your bargaining position again, please! I know, you have a lot of cattle! oy vey! Ok, I get it, it has been agreed, now please don’t go on about it!”
Now apart from this verse giving me a giggle tonight, there are three very important things to remember here.
First, that these 2½ tribes were not condemned in their choice of land possession. It wasn’t what was originally on offer, but they wanted it, had legitimate reason for wanting it, asked for it, bargained for it and got it! God did not condemn them for this.
Secondly, that other land had been allocated to other descendents of Abraham, for example, even the descendants of Lot had spiritual titles that resulted in material possession, this was non-negotiable. However, this former land of the giants, this good cattle land, was spiritually speaking, “up for grabs” and grab it they did.
Thirdly, that there is some play in the promises of God. I don’t know if this was the best choice for the 2½ tribes, or if it was a better choice for themselves than God’s initial choice? However, I do know their bargaining chip of having much cattle, was legitimate, well used in the bargaining banter and well remembered by God Himself!
Tonight, maybe you also have some legitimate reasons to ask God for something that was not initially promised to you and maybe it is up for grabs? If so, then maybe it is time to get to the bargaining table of God and start presuming on His ears? Who knows, you might just get what you ask for, and it could be a very good thing indeed!
Listen: “Then the Lord said to me, 'Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession'.” - Deuteronomy 2:9 NKJV
Pray: Lord, deliver me from unholy pragmatism. However Lord, when two and two make four, help me to be wise enough and brave enough, to make You a most considerate, settlement offer. Yes Lord, help me not settle for less but help me to know the best, in Jesus name I pray, amen!
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