<formatting note; you might see less gifs in the posts moving forward...someone updated their site and giphy and squarespace don’t work as well together anymore. But...maybe instead of gifs...memes??>
One of the things I love about the Bible is no matter how many times I read it, no matter how many times I study it, picking apart every detail and putting it under a magnifying glass, there’s always stuff I’ve never noticed before.
Recently I was reading in Joshua 1, and I noticed this passage:
10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”
12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives,your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
I’ve never noticed that, when the 12 tribes crossed the Jordan, they weren’t ALL fighting for territory on the other side. I didn’t even notice it, even though the original conversation is back in Exodus ___, which through my bible reading plan, hadn’t been that many days before. (Have you ever noticed something that just seems glaringly apparent on the page and you’re like, “Wow, I’m not sure I read the Bible as close as I thought I do.”)
Numbers 32 recalls:
The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. 2 So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, “... 4 the land the Lord subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. 5 If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”
Immediately I go look up a map to see what we’re talking about and I find this. Sure enough, Ruben, Gad, Manassaeh, right over there on the east side of the Jordan.
The Rubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh (whom we’re gonna go ahead and just call Manasseh so I don’t have to type all that again, ok) chose lands to the east of the Jordan, so by the time Joshua’s ready to have everyone cross over, these 3 tribes already have their inheritance.
Everything the Israelites are hoping to get on the other side, these tribes already have. But, Joshua reminds them, the job isn’t yet done for them.
For the Israelites, even though the three tribes have already received their inheritance, they aren’t finished until the whole group has received their inheritance. For the whole team to win, everyone has to fight together. It wasn’t over once they had received their win; they had to go out and help the others get their win.
This responsibility is a beautiful picture of ministry. Christianity is an extremely community-oriented religion and part of community is that we’re called to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). God’s work doesn’t just end when I pray and receive my healing; it’s my duty to turn around and help someone else get their healing.
John 15:12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Even though Jesus was God, he needed no help, he required no assistance, he was perfect and remained perfect, he had a cozy throne in heaven where the battle is won, he chose to go back in the battlefield to help us find the way to victory.
It’s only because of Jesus’ actions that we even have a victory. We ALL are the recipients of this same action.
Therefore, when we do achieve our victory, how selfish of us to sit and relish in it like we made it happen for ourselves in the first place? And how wasteful to enjoy it all to ourselves for the rest of our days?
We can’t sit in our mansions on the hilltops of victory while others remain in the battlefield. It’s our duty -- like it was the duty of Rueben, Gad, and Manasseh -- to leave our hilltops to help others in the trenches of their lives.
God gives you healing so you’re able to go help others heal.
God gives you freedom so you’re able to go help others get free.
God gives you power so you’re able to help others operate in God’s power.
God’s victories come not to give us new comforts, but new challenges.
It was not only the responsibility, but the joy, of the Gadites, Ruebenites, and half-tribe of Manasseh to fight with their brothers and sisters even though they had already received their inheritance. So, too, it is our joy to fight for others as they achieve their victories. We aren’t done until everyone’s inheritance is received.