Reading: Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? Numbers 32:6

Israel’s campaign to possess the land of promise involved war. Although God had said that He would drive the inhabitants out of their cities and give their possessions to His people, it was Israel’s responsibility to fight. 

Moses clearly understood that the nation would have to work together to claim what God had promised. When two of the tribes suggested that their inheritance was on east side of Jordan, he challenged them with the words of today’s text. Moses was emphasising that there was no room for idleness in this momentous campaign. All the tribes would have to work together, fight together, stand together, and shoulder the responsibility together. Failure to do so would not only discourage the others, it would constitute a sin against the Lord. It was a warning against the iniquity of idleness.

There is no room for half-heartedness in the work of God. Idle servants of Christ are a contradiction in terms. We have been called to labour together with Christ in the gospel. As the Saviour explained, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37). There are some who labour long and hard in the service of Christ. They give of their best to the Master. They spend and are spent in the service of the kingdom of God, but their numbers are few. God is calling for labourers. He is looking for those who will follow in the footsteps of their Saviour and live as faithful servants to Him. This is a cause that demands industry and not idleness. Shall our fellow believers present their bodies as living sacrifices unto God, which is their reasonable service, and we sit idle, while there is so much still to be done for Christ?

“God has given no man a dispensation to be idle.” Ralph Venning

Taken from A Word in Season edited by Alan Cairns, 2010. Used by permission.