Saturday, August 31, 2013

Normal

John 9:3 KJV
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Here is one of those passages that illustrates the importance of reading the Bible normally as well as literally. The context of the whole Bible adds depth and accuracy to the passage. 

We know that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That is as true of this man, and his parents, as it is of every human ever born, excepting of course, Jesus. This passage should not be read to mean that these three had never sinned. It should be interpreted normally and not too literally, which means we apply the rest of Scripture and know that they have sinned but their sins are not the cause of the son's blindness. 


We also see an illustration in this passage of teaching line upon line and precept upon precept, not trying to teach every truth in one lesson. Jesus dealt with the question at hand. He did not spend inordinate amounts of time laying lots or background and giving disclaimers; he simply answered the question and left it up to His audience to know that there was more truth involved in the passage than He took the time to address. He did not begin by saying something like, "Technically all of them have sinned because all are sinners." He did not get sidetracked with doctrines that were peripheral to the topic. He stayed on task. He did not lie in doing so. He did not teach half truth in doing so. He taught the truth that was pertinent to the question. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Disciples Indeed

John 8:31 KJV
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

When these people heard Jesus speak the Bible says many of them believed on Him. But Jesus was not impressed. His interest was not in professions but in continuance. He said if they continued in His Word they were disciples indeed. 

The goal of the witness and soul winner is not a number of professions but to see people continue in the Word of God. It is not to mark in a book how many people we have heard say the sinner's prayer, but to urge those who have believed to continue in Gods Word. 

Have you believed? Then continue in God's Word. No one is a disciple of the Lord who has merely believed. Discipleship is a lifetime commitment.  We begin with our profession of faith but we continue in believing and conforming to and obeying the Word of God. 


Then you are a disciple indeed

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lecturing God

John 7:3-5 KJV
His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
For neither did his brethren believe in him.

The account speaks of His brethren by birth, his half brothers and perhaps sisters through Mary. Jesus had conveyed Himself away from Jewry, Jerusalem and those immersed in the religion of Jerusalem. His brethren, who had not yet accepted that He was the Messiah, lectured Him
  • About the importance of the feast
  • About the dishonesty of hiding Himself
  • About integrity of working in the open 
Each of their accusations was misguided and rash on their part. Jesus did work openly and He did attend the feast. He just did it in an appropriate time. 

Many people are tempted to give a similar lecture to God about their own situation
  • They believe they know what God should do. 
  • They believe they know when God should do it
  • They believe they know how God should do it and
  • They believe God should do it all so that  men may see it
And they lecture God as they do because they really don't believe in Him. They see themselves as gods of their own universe and, if there is a god being, His job is to serve them in accomplishing their ambitions. 

I have often wanted God to do a thing in a way that was obvious to everyone that it was God who had worked. Frequently however His work has been more subtle, usually so that only I could sense He was doing it. That sort of personal work of the Lord sorts out the phonies; those whose only purpose in knowing God is for what they can get from Him. 


There is no need to lecture God. Ours is to ask and then trust. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why Here?

John 6:4 KJV
And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

The mention of the Passover seems spurious and out of place to me. There is very little apparent purpose for the mention except as a possible reference to time. Could it be that the Lord leaves us this clue simply to help us keep a more accurate account of the timing of the events of Christ's life?


Robert Hawker adds a second possibility when he connects the nearness of the Passover with the magnanimous blessing of the feeding of the five thousand. He writes in his Poor Man's Commentary, "...observe, that the compassion of Jesus, manifested at those seasons, in working a miracle to supply the pressing wants of the body, and for a multitude, which the Lord then knew, and afterwards proved, were none of His, in the covenant of redemption, (see John 6:66.) should be a constant source of comfort, both for the wants of body and soul, to his people, during the whole of their time-state upon earth. My brother! I would say to every child of God, let nothing tempt you to cast away your faith, or suffer you to be cast down with fear; both your bread that perisheth with using, and that which endureth to everlasting life, shall be given, and your water sure" 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stand Up Testing

John 5:8-11 KJV
Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

That Christ healed the man on the Sabbath day seems to me to be an obvious thing. When better for God to do for us a wonderful act of grace than on that day He has set aside for Himself?
  • That we would meet with Him
  • That meeting we would communicate our needs to Him
  • That presenting out needs He would grant our request 
All of that seems perfectly obvious to me

But that Christ would then instruct the man to do something that would immediately set him at odds with His world, now there is something striking. 

I find that it is the case more often than not that an early test a new believer will experience is that test that puts him at odds with his immediate surroundings. 
  • It might be a friend who wants him to do as he always had done
  • It might be a family member who expects a visit on Sunday rather than to understand the desire to worship in church
  • It could be a habit that must be changed right away
Whatever it is, it is something that stands out, that is open, that everyone who knows the person will notice. 
God seldom allows His gracious benefits to be received covertly. 


I notice too that the first part of this test the man was forced apparently to face alone. I do not believe He was alone as God never forsakes His own. But there are times of testing when we surely feel alone. Such testing proves our dedication and steadfastness. It is no time to panic or flee from our faith as believers; it is time to stand for Christ knowing that soon enough He will send aide to strengthen and sustain us. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shallow, but Getting Deeper

John 4:15 KJV
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

The woman of Samaria was where most Americans seem to be spiritually. We ask things of God but our requests are shallow and surface things, not meant to matter and if answered are at best temporary solutions to eternal problems. She, like most Americans, could only see the Lord as an answer for something earthly.

Not until we see Christ as an answer for eternal and spiritual things will we truly understand the nature of the Christian faith. 

But Christ did not quit on her. Though she was short sighted as to what Christ offered and though Christ knew she was filled with sin, He continued to speak with her.

We must never give up on people but seek more and more to try to win and reach them.
  • Their responses may seem petty and shallow
  • They might frequently sound as if they mock our faith

but one or two more questions on our part; just a little more scripture, may be all it takes to bring them over to see Gods truth. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Carefully Hearken

Deuteronomy 15:5 KJV
Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.

The context of this verse has to do with
  • Lending money
  • Forgiving debts and
  • Taking of slaves
But the import of this passage is in that word "carefully". The people of God were to carefully hearken to obey God's law. 

I am relieved to know that my salvation does not depend upon carefully obeying all of the Old Testament law.
Neither does it depend upon my careful obedience to those principles of Christian walk that we derive out of the New Testament. If it were so we would all perish because, as James said, if we keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, we are guilty of it all. My soul's keeping is only in the hands of Jesus Christ. I thank God for that. 

I am also glad that my pleasing God is not bound in my ability to carefully hearken to every point.
I have not attained such am ability and will not, the Bible convinces me, until I get to heaven. 

Still there is in this phrase a missing piece of modern Christianity. We seldom carefully do anything when it comes to our faith. We have taken for granted, for so long, that our relationship with God is bound in the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we have neglected a walk that is worthy of our professed faith. 


  • No, the Christian does not earn His salvation or his relationship through careful obedience
  • Of course, the Christian ought to carefully hearken to the Word of God that his walk and conversation in this world is worthy of the Christ who saved him

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pray, Obey and Speak to Others

John 2:3-5 KJV
And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

What must it have been like to raise the perfect Son of God! Those thirty some years as Mary witnessed the maturing of Jesus in the backdrop of the pronouncement of the angels must surely have aroused in her wonder.

Though Jesus had almost certainly done no miracles prior to this one; Mary seemed innately aware that He was capable of meeting this need. She brought the need to His attention and then instructed the servants to obey Him completely. 

There is something within us that knows Christ is capable of blessing, of meeting our needs, of doing what we could never do. Something tells us that if we will follow Him, though we cannot say what He will do, what He will do will meet our need. 

  • And so we pray
  • And so we do His will
  • And so we speak to others

Friday, August 23, 2013

Only The Word

Deuteronomy 12:32 KJV
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

And here describes the sinful nature of man when it comes to our religion; our propensity to either add to or diminish from all that God has said

On the one hand there are those who would reject certain of the principles and lessons of God's Word. Whether it has to do with 
  • Principles of separation or
  • Disciplines of church attendance or
  • Instructions in marriage and family life
There are those who call any attempt to observe all things whatsoever the Lord commands legalism. 

But on the other hand there are those who would always add to God's laws their own ideas for men:
  • They turn politics into a spiritual duty
  • They make the ordinances into sacraments of grace
  • They make a church service into a sacred Mass


We must learn to lean only upon what is written in the Word of God. Our sole rule of faith and practice is the Bible delivered to us from God. What it says must be obeyed. What it leaves silent must not be forced upon another. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Not For Our Righteousness But For Their Need

Deuteronomy 9:5 KJV
Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Moses urged the Jews to never forget that God did not choose them for their own righteousness but to always remember that they were a stiff necked people. God used them because there was a need. That is all. 

It is no different today. Those God uses to minister to others are no better than those they minister to. They are simply the ones God has called for that ministry. 

We do wrong to gloat and lift ourselves in self righteous pride at our accomplishments. Some of them are not accomplishments at all but merely the temporal work of man. We serve God
  • Because he has called us to it
  • Because there is a need

We have no right to snub our noses at those whose position seems to us as less than our own.  We are what we are because God made what we are. God made is what we are so we might be a help to others in need. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Holy and Special People

Deuteronomy 7:5 KJV
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

There are some things that we, who are the people of God, just cannot compromise. God has called us to be both holy and special. Those things that the people of the world have dreamed up to call upon as their deities, their idols of worship simply must be shunned by the one who would walk with Jesus. 
  • We must make no covenant with them
  • We must show no mercy to them

This attitude if ours will no doubt elicit a response from the idolaters. They have come to love and depend upon the gods of their own making. Whether they be 
  • Political gods
  • Financial gods
  • Recreational gods
  • Moral gods
  • Etc
to shun what they love will be a sign of rejection in their eyes. They will call us
  • Hateful
  • Mean spirited
  • Legalistic and
  • Out dated

But we must remember our focus; we do not live to please those people (nor to hate them) we are a holy and special people. We live to please God. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Don't Just Do, Observe To Do

Deuteronomy 6:3 KJV
Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

It is as if Moses told the people, "Ok, here you have it. These are God's commandments. Now observe to do it." 

What else is there, when the people have heard but to urge them not only to do what God commanded but to observe to do it? They were to work at doing it. They were to take measures to see that they did it. 
Those measures are laid out for them in the chapter
  • Teach them to the children
  • Write them in the posts of the house
  • Sew them into the borders of their garments


Nothing has changed today. We know the word of God. We have it before us. Ours is now simply to observe to do what it says. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

For Whose Sake?

Deuteronomy 3:26 KJV
But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.

Deuteronomy 4:21 KJV
Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:

Moses was refused entrance into the Promised Land on account of his sin of smiting the rock. But here he said that God would not hear his prayers asking God to repent and allow him entrance for the sake of the congregation. It was a lesson they must learn; God though exceedingly gracious, and Whose mercies are from everlasting, expects our obedience. Especially in those who lead, they must never presume leadership but forever see themselves as under the authority of God. 

Moses had never been in charge. It was never about
  • The greatness
  • The example
  • The amazing
faith of Moses. This was God's doing and Moses was merely blessed to be in on it. 


What a terrible situation we have gotten ourselves into these days when we toss out the names of men as if some great thing was inherent in them. We name our buildings after them. We gather together around them as if making pilgrimage to our own Mecca. We have forgotten the lesson of Moses; all men are sinners. Any man may be replaced. We worship God. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Problem with Reason

Luke 20:5 KJV
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?

Jesus asked a simple question and one they surely had an opinion about. But rather than giving Him and answer, they reasoned in their hearts. 
A multitude will spend an eternity in hell because, rather than answering for themselves the question of faith, they will "reason away" reasons they ought to trust Jesus Christ. 
  • They will reason in their hearts the sins of religion past
  • They will reason in their hearts the confusion of so many denominations
  • They will reason in their hearts the problem with unbelieving friends and loved ones
  • They will reason in their hearts the fact that they know the Lord will expect change in their lifestyle 
And they will therefore refuse to answer their Geary's question concerning Jesus. 
But to refuse to answer Christ is to answer "No" to Christ. 

Christians are just as prone to this problem of reason and it prevents us from stepping out in faith for God. We reason a million reasons why doing what God has called Christians to do is not a good idea - at least not for us.


Faith is not blind. There are two thousand years worth of evidence to prove the Bible is true, life changing and the very Word of God. But faith does through away those reasons that the world, the flesh and the devil will present to prevent one from trusting Christ as Saviour or a child of God from following His will. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

He's Exceeded My Dreams

Luke 19:5 KJV
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

The commentaries suggest that Christ's statement "I must abide at thy house" is a royal mandate. I see it as the imperative of faith. What God has determined happens.
  • It is not by chance
  • It is no coincidence
  • It is the decree of God and is accomplished as He wills

Barnes notes, 
"This was an honor which Zacchaeus did not expect. The utmost, it seems, which he aimed at was to see Jesus; but, instead of that, Jesus proposed to remain with him, and to give him the benefit of his personal instruction. It is but one among a thousand instances where the Saviour goes, in bestowing mercies, far beyond the desert, the desire, or the expectation of men; and it is not improper to learn from this example that solicitude to behold the Saviour will not pass unnoticed by him, but will meet with his warm approbation, and be connected with his blessing."

Our Lord does beyond our dreams, desires or expectations. 


This has most certainly been my experience. Though serving the Lord has been far from easy, yet I can testify that God has blessed me far greater than I have ever deserved. And while I have had dreams that have not come to pass, I have also had blessings that surpassed my dreams. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Always Praying; Always Faithful

Luke 18:1 KJV
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Luke 18:8 KJV
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The Bible says Jesus taught this parable to teach that men ought always to pray and not to faint. But the context has much to do with His return. When Jesus comes back, faith will be at an all time low:
  • Few will believe He will avenge them of their adversaries
  • Few will be found in prayer and
  • Few will be of a mind to look for His coming

Paul said there is a crown of righteousness awaiting all that love His appearing. It may be this crown is much rarer than some really believe. 


Our Lord has taught us to pray. He has urged us not to faint as we pray. May we be found faithful when he comes. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fewer Than We Think...

Luke 17:30 KJV
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

There have been any number of paintings and other sorts of graphics used to depict what it might be like when Jesus raptures the saints to heaven:
  • Planes falling from the sky, their pilots raptures
  • Car wrecks on the freeways, drivers raptured
  • The skies filled with those saints being raptured and resurrected
One song, attempting to describe the rapture should it happen on a Sunday morning, says "In the church near valley station there's less than half the congregation[1]" implying that more than half were saved. But if Jesus' description is accurate it is very likely that when the rapture happens it will not be millions and millions raptured but a comparative few. There would conceivably be fewer missing church (should the rapture happen on a Sunday) because of the rapture than are generally gone because of a common cold. 

This might account for the almost oblivious attitude of those remaining on the earth after the rapture; they won't be shocked because there are not a shocking amount missing. 

As we draw nearer to the end we tend to make more people feel like they are saved while seeing fewer and fewer who are genuinely converted.
  • More people profess Christianity fewer people possess Christ
  • More people play church while fewer people come out of this world

These are serious times. Who knows all of the reasons people had for not heeding the warnings of Noah, but only eight out of possibly billions of people were saved back then.

What if only eight people in our world right now are really saved?

Are you one of them?




[1] Tracy Dartt, The Last Sunday

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Contentment of Lazarus or the Complaining of the Rich Man

Luke 16:30 KJV
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

It is interesting that Lazarus, whose name we are given, is silent in this account; but the rich man, whose name is withheld, does all the talking. I understand that the intent if the Lord is to express the awfulness of hell but in doing so He demonstrates the contentedness of those in heaven as well as the difference in character between the two men. 
Lazarus is a content man

The rich man is a complainer
Going even so far as to try to correct Abraham. 

And so it is with souls in this world:
  • Some are happy and blessed with the Father's care
  • Some will complain about everything and to anyone


Give us, O Father, a spirit like Lazarus. Give us a spirit of contentedness with Your care. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2500 posts

The August 13, 2013 blog makes the 2500 blog I have posted since beginning this exercise. There have been almost 48,000 pagesviews of those blogs. I am very thankful for any outreach they have had.

Not Soft; Dependant

Luke 15:3 KJV
And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

It is not difficult to see that each of the three parables are intended to teach the same truth; the value of a soul. 

The first leaves the sheep to find the one who is lost
The second searches diligently until she finds her lost coin
The third gives us the most detail
but in this case the father does not go, he does not search; he gives his son his demands, he allows his son to go and then he keeps his eye open for his son's return. 

This could be designed to demonstrate three styles of evangelism. It could also speak to the three different types of lost man and the means of reaching them. Or it could be that the third is an explanation of the earlier two. 

The parable of the prodigal is a magnificent expression of living in dependence upon the Lord. This man is not soft. He is accused of that by his first born son, but it is not true. He is not soft; he is trusting. He is reliant upon the Heavenly Father. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, he bows to the rebellious nature of his son and leaves him to learn what rot awaits in the world of sinfulness. 

And the boy came home
  • Penniless
  • Filthy

But
  • Humbled and
  • Repentant 

We ought to search for the lost. We ought to be diligent about it.


But we must be dependent upon The Lord. Only then will we truly see souls come to the Lord with hearts surrendered to him. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Start Counting Again

Luke 14:28-33 KJV
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

We seldom urge prospective new Christians to count the cost before they make a profession of faith these days. More likely we do all we can to smooth the road for them. We remove every obstacle we make it easy to say a prayer.
  • We spoon feed them
  • We coddle them with as much Christian friendliness as we can find
  • We skirt around telling them any of the difficult things about being Christians

  • We avoid any mention of Christian standards
  • We want them to be saved
  • We want them to go to heaven
  • We want them to come to our church
And we don't want negative things to hinder them.

Truth be told, a lot of professing Christians avoid anything negative about Christianity themselves. 

But Jesus said that His disciple had to count the cost first. The price of a relationship with Christ is intense. It costs everything. A person ought to know that ahead of time, not somewhere into his faith. 

  • Getting saved is easy
  • Being saved isn't always so easy

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Keep Your Own Inheritance

Numbers 36:9 KJV
Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance.

Since Deuteronomy is essentially a repetition of the wilderness wandering, one could say that the record of those wanderings is completed in Numbers. That being said, the last thing Numbers records is that the tribes of Israel were to continually respect the inheritance of each tribe. 
  • They were not to intermingle with the other nations around them
  • They were also not to intermingle with the other tribes
The inheritance of each tribe was to remain separate, distinctive and inviolate. 

The Jews, of course, have completely abandoned that practice today. We hear talk of Israel; of the Jew, but never of the individual tribes. I understand in fact, that the record of those tribes has been lost so that a Jew does not know today which tribe he is from. The last thing God commanded has been completely disobeyed. 

I believe something very similar happens in Christendom. The name Christian has become so indistinct that almost anything counts as a Christian, and so long as one says he is a Christian, he is accepted into Christian fellowship with no further examination. 
  • Most denominations accept a person of any Christian background into fellowship
  • Many churches accept any mode and any sort of baptism as sufficient for fellowship
  • Many denominational churches cross denominational and doctrinal lines in their searches for pastors
  • Organizations such as Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists are now accepted as being Christian
They make no distinctions any more. 

But the same trouble happens among independent Baptists. It is impossible to miss that we are not all the same. 
  • There are doctrinal differences among independent Baptists
  • There are philosophical differences among independent Baptists
  • There are practical differences among independent Baptists

I am not suggesting we should attack those who are different any more than God sought war between the tribes of Israel. But I do suggest that the differences are real and that they are important. If we fail to acknowledge those differences and continue to intermingle we will destroy those differences. We will become a blend of doctrinal philosophical and practical positions that are flavorless, distasteful and ineffective in our world. 


Purity of the faith demands that we acknowledge that we are not the same and that we do not intermingle. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

HDIC Insured

Luke 12:33 KJV
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

I have noticed that as I have grown up, I have worn out my pants in different places:
  • When I was a child it seemed like I always wore them out in the knees
  • When I was an ironworker I always wore them out in the seat (from scooting on the iron - a sort of mark of shame for an ironworker. But we all had worn seats)
  • It seems like my pants always wear out now in the right pocket
That is where I keep my keys, a pocket knife and whatever small change I might have

In those days of the Bible there would have been no pockets in the pants. They carried their money in a bag. Jesus was literally telling them to find a safer place for their money that in their pants pocket. That place, Jesus said, was heaven.
  • It was not in the bags they carried around in their day
  • It was not in the pockets of our modern day pants and
  • It isn't in the banks, even if they are FDIC insured

the only place a person may place their money and know it will be safe for them eternally is in heaven things.

The Concern of the Preacher

Numbers 32:7 KJV
And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?

Moses' concern when the two and half tribes requested the land on the other side of the Jordan was that they would discourage the others from doing the right thing. He was not able to stop them from wanting what they wanted but he did not want them to discourage the others. 

Some people, like the ten spies at Kadesh Barnea, believe it is their duty and obligation to discourage people. They are not believers (either in the faith itself or else in the idea of practicing their faith) and they believe that believing is harmful. The spies made themselves self appointed authorities and assumed responsibility to stop the congregation from following what they believed was Moses' foolhardy plan 

Others discourage less intentionally but equally effectively. They set an example of unbelief. Perhaps they even wish others success in their own spiritual journey, they just do not wish to continue on that journey themselves. 

In any case, Moses' priority was to protect the congregation from such discouragement. He could not prevent these people from what they had set their hearts upon but he could insist that they fight with their brethren. They were wrong to want the land on the other side. They were wrong to take the land on the other side. But they were required to stand with their brethren in their battle for the faith. 


For the sake of those whose hearts long to serve God I must insist that those who are less inclined to live for The Lord still practice their faith according to God's Word or else they must remove themselves. Any other course will discourage the congregation from pursuing God to the fullest.