Living on The Edge
Intro: “Bring us not over Jordan…” vs. 5 – what a testimony!
Two tribes of Israel; the Reubenites and the Gaddites
God had very clearly made His plan for them known to Moses. SEE EXODUS 3:7, 8
God had delivered them from Egypt forty years prior.
God had given them the land of Canaan for an inheritance.
God had killed off the entire generation before them for failing to enter into Canaan. – vs. 8-14
Now they are doing the same thing their fathers did!
They got right to the edge of God’s will, and stopped.
Their leader experienced God’s will.
Many of their friends and acquaintances experienced God’s will.
But they and their families stopped on the outskirts of Canaan and were content to LIVE ON THE EDGE of God’s will.
I. Their Love of Carnality – vs. 1-4
NOTICE: Where they lived was based solely on how suitable it was for their cattle. – vs. 1
They forgot where God had brought them from.
They used the blessings of God as an excuse to stay.
Where did those cattle come from? They were a result of 40 years wandering in the wilderness!
Those that place more emphasis on their assets, their belongings, their accumulated wealth than they do being in God’s will is in danger of living on the edge.
The blessings of God become a curse when you allow what God has given you to keep you ON THE EDGE!
When God’s blessings is what steals your heart away from being in God’s perfect will.
When you forfeit God’s best so you can accommodate the carnal things in your life, that is wrong!
II. Their Lack of Commitment – vs. 5-7
Moses asked them in verse 6 – Shall your brethren go to war and shall ye sit here?
And wherefore discourage ye the hearts of the children of Israel from going over?
Your lack of commitment to God’s plan and God’s will could very possibly influence others to follow your example!
Moses reminded them of the impact of a lack of commitment:
HISTORY LESSON: vs. 8-15
- 14 – and behold, ye are risen up in your fathers’ stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord.
III. Their License to Compromise – vs. 10-19
Demanded favoritism; asked for a double-standard.
If we have found grace in thy sight… vs. 5
They asked the man of God to give them permission to go completely contrary to the will of God.
They didn’t want the man of God’s advice; they wanted his approval!
NOTE: Moses’ compliance with their compromise didn’t negate God’s will.
Notice the progression – vs. 5 “let this land be given unto us” eventually turned into vs. 19 “we will not inherit with them on yonder side…”
Looking for permission; approval; a loophole always turns into rebellion.
Looking for permission to avoid God’s will turns into a slippery slope to more disobedience.
Their attitude was: Canaan is God’s will for you and your children, but not for us.
We will help you and fight for you to have God’s best, but we want to LIVE ON THE EDGE!
IV. Their Limitations on their Children – vs. 17
Their decision was based solely on their cattle, and their children became collateral damage.
Notice verse 17: our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.
They knew the negative influence; they knew the danger; they knew the potential threat to their kids.
Yet they decided to live on the edge anyway!
The problem with this was they were fencing them out from what was GOOD!
The saddest part about this whole story is what their children were going to miss out on:
They were going to be fenced in from “the inhabitants”.
What they were actually going to alienated from was:
- the people of God
- the man of God
- the shouting of the saints (at Jericho)
- the walls falling down
- the salvation of the heathen
- the battles that were won
- the personal experiences of watching God bless
Conclusion: Too many people are satisfied with living on the edge of God’s will. They get within sight of it; within earshot of it; they can see it in the distance, and they settle for second-best.