Fighting For What's Yours (1)

  • This teaching developed as I was studying the book of Numbers and came up on Chapter 32. Now, you may be asking, what is a grace teacher doing studying the boring book of Numbers? Well, if you have to ask that question, then it’s clear you haven’t been studying the teachings on this website, nor have you received the full revelation of the grace of God.

    On numerous occasions I have stated that we must study the scriptures through the eyes of grace and not through the eyes of the law. Also, the reason many do not find a revelation of grace in all scripture is because they do not study it in the same Spirit in which it was written. Scripture should never be studied in order to teach, it should be studied in order to receive a deeper revelation of the truth. That’s what happened here.

    If I were to subtitle this teaching, I guess I would call it “Cafeteria Style Christianity”. It is people choosing what to believe and not to believe. What to receive and what not to receive. Whether to do battle with the giftings they have or to avoid it, because it’s uncomfortable.

    They love to sit in the land that’s good for cattle (the church building), but they don’t want to operate in their gifts and callings in that church, or take them outside the church. They say or think things like “We like it here on this comfortable chair. I don’t want to go visit the sick in the hospital. I don’t want to go and minister to the prisoners. I don’t want to counsel those who are striving in their marriages. What? Have a home ministry group? No way. That’s too inconvenient”.

    Now I’m not advocating doing any of the things mentioned above, unless you are called to do them and gifted in a particular area. The grace of God will provide you with the ability to simply BE a visitation pastor, or BE a home ministry leader, or BE an intercessor. The problem comes in when people have that “land”, but don’t possess it by fighting in the victory.

    The fight is not hard, because it’s the Lord’s battle through you and His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He wants us to join in the triumph and victory. That’s why He calls us into the battle. You cannot lose the gifts and callings He has already given you. You just cannot possess them, enjoy them and join in the victories they bring if you don’t use them and enter the battle.

    Here’s the story in the Easy to Read version. Numbers 32.

    1 The tribes of Reuben and Gad had many cattle. These people looked at the land near Jazer and Gilead. They saw that this land was good for their cattle.

    Here’s an example that came to me as I read this first verse. How many people choose the church they go to because it’s close to their home? They don’t want to have to drive too far, because it takes too long and they’ll have to get up too early to get there. I remember a pastor saying “It’s worth the drive when your church is alive”. I have told numerous people never go to the church that they choose. Go to the church that God chooses for you.

    So the people from the tribes of Reuben and Gad came to Moses. They spoke to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the leaders of the people. 3-4 They said, “We, your servants, have many cattle. And the land that the Lord let the people of Israel capture is good land for cattle. This land includes the area around Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sibmah, Nebo, and Beon. If it pleases you, we would like this land to be given to us. Don’t take us to the other side of the Jordan River.”

    Now don’t miss the attitude of the people here. We see that the “people of Israel” have already captured the land. Someone else has fought the battle for this land. Someone else has endured the battle to gain ground from the enemy. Now these people say “we would like this land to be GIVEN to us, because it’s a land that meets our needs and desires. After all, it’s good for cattle and we have cattle.

    Are you getting this? Others have fought the battles to build a strong ministry and people want to come in and have given to them things that meet their needs. After all, the land is good for cattle and we have cattle. Isn’t that like many today. There are those that have a need and a particular program meets their needs, so they believe that’s reason enough to give it to them. It’s an entitlement mentality.

    Then look at what they say. Don’t take us to the other side of the Jordan River. We don’t want to cross over the line of having to support anything. We like it right here in this pew. My family is comfortable here. We’ll come and sit for how ever long the service lasts and then simply go home. Nothing else. We don’t want to get involved.

    Moses told the people from the tribes of Reuben and Gad, “Will you let your brothers go and fight while you settle here?

    Oh. I get it. You want everything handed to you without putting forth one bit of effort. Let someone else do it. Let someone else make sure it’s comfortable for you. Join in the battle with someone else so they can get their inheritance? No way. I’ve got mine, so you need to go and get your own. We want to sit right here where it’s comfortable.

    Why are you trying to discourage the Israelites? You will make them not want to cross the river and take the land that the Lord has given to them!

    People who have this attitude of “I’m not going to, because it’s uncomfortable for me to use my gifts and callings” drag others down instead of building them up.

    Then Moses goes into a history lesson and tells the people about their fathers and the fact they did the same thing. It’s time to get out of the religious ruts that past ministries have put us in. Ruts of performance, religion, legalism, works, and laziness in the spiritual warfare arena.

    Look at verse 9. It says “These men went as far as Eshcol Valley. They saw the land, and they discouraged the Israelites”. Isn’t it curious how many Christians will go just so far. Usually until they reach a valley and then they quit. They are all pumped up with what they hear about. They see the promise, but when they get to the valley they stop. Then they try to justify their failure to believe God in the victory and by so doing pull others down with them.

    Here’s how that verse ends. “These men made the Israelites not want to go into the land that the Lord had given to them”. Did you catch the grace indicator in that verse or did you miss it. It’s the phrase “not want to”. You see, grace is not about “have to”, it’s all about “want to’s”. Religion will destroy your want to with fear and false statements.

    Moses continues with his history lesson and describes the Lord’s attitude towards these type people. After all, He had already given them the land. They just had to go and possess it. God has already given us everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). All we have to do is go possess it.

    Moses tells them the Lord became very angry with the people. He made this promise:

    11 ‘None of the people who came from Egypt and are 20 years old or older will be allowed to see this land. I made a promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I promised to give this land to these people, but they did not really follow me.

    Wow. They did not really follow me. They did not receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. They did not operate under the truth of 3 John 4 that says “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”. They missed the very thing that brings God joy. That being believing and receiving that they had been given the land and instead discouraging others to fall away from the truth with their “Ya But” ministries.

    12 Only Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun really followed the Lord!’ 13 “The Lord was very angry with the Israelites. So he made the people stay in the desert for 40 years. He made them stay there until all the people who had sinned against the Lord were dead. 14 And now you are doing the same thing that your fathers did. You sinful people, do you want the Lord to be even more angry with his people?

    It’s easy to follow error. It takes courage and rest to allow the great grace of God to put you in a constant position of victory. Someone comes to you with a “have to” or “thou shalt not” and your response should be NO! I am under the grace of God so I don’t have to do anything you say or create a rule about. I get to receive by grace all that He has already done.

    15 If you stop following the Lord, he will make Israel stay even longer in the desert. Then you will destroy all these people!”

    If you continue to reject the free gift of God’s grace and His righteousness, in favor of religion and legalism, you will find yourself in a desert place. If you fail to rest in the battle of all that is yours, and operate under the very gifts and callings God has given you, you will never know the victory you already have. Don’t miss the part about it being you who will destroy others by your failure to join in the victory battles.

    In verses 16-19, the people of Reuben and Gad make a declaration. They will enter into the battle with the others. They will build their cities but will not come back to them until the other side of the Jordan is secure.

    What’s the point. The victory in ownership of your ministry, your life, your possessions is the fact that you can give to others out of your possessions. You will not be able to fully own them unless you’re willing to share them. You have powerful gifts and callings, but they lay dormant until you use them to benefit others. When you use them to help fight the battles in others lives, you will discover the strength in your own self and all that God has blessed you with.

    Now we are not done with this story, but it starts to get much better. The people get the point Moses made to them and start to act appropriately to the truth before them. the second part of this teaching will reveal the victories as a result of their obedience to the truth. Grace and Peace.