“So Moses said to them, “If you will do this, if you will arm yourselves before the Lord for the war, and all of you armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven His enemies out from before Him, and the land is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you shall return and be free of obligation toward the Lord and toward Israel, and this land shall be yours for a possession before the Lord” (Numbers 32:20-22, NASB).
After the forty years of wandering in the desert came to an end and the conquest of Canaan was about to begin, two of the Israelite tribes (Reuben and Gad) requested that they be allowed to settle in the fertile grazing land in Transjordan on the east side of the Jordan River: “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not take us across the Jordan” (vs 5).
Moses found their proposal unacceptable. He said it wasn’t fair that their brothers go to war while these two tribes remained behind to settle their territory. And besides, Moses said it would discourage the other tribes from conquering the land of Canaan.
So, they offered a counter-proposal. They would receive their inheritance of land on the east side of the Jordan but join the other tribes in conquering the Canaanites on the west side of the Jordan. In fact, they declared that they would not return to their land in Transjordan until the conquest is complete: “We will not return to our homes until everyone of the sons of Israel has possessed his inheritance” (vs. 18).
The book of Joshua records that after the invasion and conquest was complete and each of the tribes was assigned their territory, then Joshua blessed the tribes settling on the east side of the Jordan (half of the tribe of Manasseh joined the first two) and sent them back to their respective territories. Joshua told them they could return to their territories with the spoils of war they had in their possession: “Return to your tents with great riches and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron, and with very many clothes; divide the spoils of your enemies with your brothers” (Joshua 22:8, NASB).
So, here’s the point, here’s the theological lesson to be learned from this story. You don’t get the blessing without first fighting the battle! You must battle for the inheritance that has been usurped by the enemy of your soul. You must fight for your faith!
There’s a world war going on! It’s for the souls of people everywhere. So, when you become a citizen of God’s Kingdom, you are served with a draft notice and you are enlisted in heaven’s national guard! As a citizen-soldier of God’s Kingdom you must always be prepared to go to battle against the forces of evil that wage war for the destruction of people’s souls and God’s Kingdom.
But, the war waged by Kingdom citizens is a war fought in the spiritual realm using spiritual weapons. And, the most powerful weapon the Kingdom warrior has in his or her possession is proclaiming the truth of God’s Kingdom rule to a world that has been deceived and deluded into rejecting God and trusting in themselves.
And, the blessings you receive as a citizen-soldier in God’s Kingdom are from the spoils of this spiritual war. So, you must be willing and ready to fight for God’s Kingdom to receive your heavenly blessing, your eternal inheritance!
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12, NASB)
[Parts of this Meditation are adapted from Steve’s book, The Kingdom Order: Living for the Future in the Present.]