Some Jesus that you used to know (Numbers 32)

Is there a video or movie or book that will make you cry no matter how many times you’ve already experienced it?

There are a couple of YouTube videos that are like that for me. One of them is called “Crossing Point”. It’s by Wong Fu Productions, and it tells a story of a couple who started their relationship with the girl investing a little and the boy investing a lot. Over time, the girl invests more and the boy invests less. They meet in the middle and now they have a decision to make.

It makes me cry because it’s a core fear of mine, in all my relationships. What if your significant other falls out of love with you? What if your friends get tired of you? What if your boss stops being impressed by your work?

I wonder if God ever feels that way about us. I wonder if He felt that way about the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

In Numbers 32, these two and a half tribes come to Moses with a proposition. Even though they and their families have traveled through the wilderness for years on the hope of finally reaching the Promised Land – they don’t want it anymore.

They’re good with what they have now. They’d like to set up camp on this side of the Jordan River (the Promised Land was on the other side) and not move an inch.

Moses was not pleased.

He thought they were trying to skip out on their duty to capture the Promised Land from the nations living there.

So they made an agreement. If the tribes would promise to stay on until everyone made it to the Promised Land, then they could go back to their chosen home. But in case for some reason they would decide to break their promise, Moses gave them a chilling warning.

“Be sure your sin will find you out” (verse 23).

Would it?

Where are you going?

What’s your Promised Land?

What has God promised you? Where is He taking you? What evil nations does He want you to conquer? What victories has He promised to win for you?

And how goes your traveling? Are you barreling forward? Are you laser-focused on the goal? Are you covering more ground every day? Or are you taking a breather? At a pit stop? Paused on the wrong side of a huge, scary river, wondering if it would be cool to take a detour, to enjoy the scenic route?

If our walk with God is looking more like the latter, is that okay? As long as we have a plan, or at least a vague idea of where we’re headed, it’s fine to call an audible, right?

The only problem is that we rest when we’re tired. We pause when we’re unsure. We stop when we’re discouraged.

And all of those things grow best when there’s no faith in the air.

We might have begun to fall back into old sins, small sins. We might have put off joining or starting that ministry. We might have started seeing the wrong person or took a job we knew wasn’t right.

Whatever it is, when we decide to veer off the path of God’s plan for our lives, it’s because we don’t trust Him. It’s because we think we know what we need. It’s because we like our plan better.

And as we tiptoe off toward our preferred path, God doesn’t force us back. But He doesn’t mince words. His voice grows fainter, but we can hear him in the distance:

“Be sure your sin will find you out.”

Be sure your sin will find you out. A parting warning. A parting plea. As you drift away from the narrow path laid out for you, it reminds you: There will be consequences. You won’t be able to get away with this. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Deviating from the plan never works.

We freeze in place. Glance back over our shoulders. Will we heed His warning? Or try, and fail, to prove Him wrong?

“Don’t let go of My hand.”

Where does faith go? Why does it cool? Why does a relationship that used to light us up all over now feel cold and vague?

It’s not Him, it’s you. It’s me. It’s us.

When we find ourselves drifting, it’s because we’ve let ourselves fall out of love.

It’s because we’ve let our prayers get shorter and shorter. It’s because we’ve skipped our devotionals over and over. It’s because we’ve stopped fighting temptation. It’s because we’re reading our Bible less.

It’s because our investment into the relationship has dropped.

It’s because we’ve taken our hand from His.

But there’s no need to despair. If we know the cause, we know the solution: go back.

He’s still there, standing on the original path, waiting for you. And when He sees you coming around the corner, maybe a little beat up, maybe a little bruised, He’ll hold out His hand, and He’ll smile and He’ll forgive you.

And we’ll realize that this is where we’re supposed to be: safe and loved and walking toward the Promised Land.


What do you think? Are you on God’s path or your own path? Share this post.

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