As Israel made her way up to Canaan, the tribes of Reuben and Gad, who had a very great number of livestock (32:1), saw the land east of the Jordan River, that it was well watered and good for grazing. Moses allowed their request to live there upon the two tribes’ commitment to assist in taking the promised land, a deal that also included part of the tribe of Manasseh. And finally, Moses recounted for the people their history, laid out the boundaries of the land, established cities for the Levites and the cities of refuge, and finally, gave instructions for female heirs.
The thing that continues to strike me about all this is that the biblical story is deeply rooted in history. And without that history, the gospel has no context and makes little sense. The story of God's redemption is not merely philosophical speculation or wishful thinking or something of the sort. It is real. It is historical. What a joy to read that story and to make it known!
I came across a wonderful old spiritual I had not known. It is a promise, a commitment, to follow the Lord and to fight for him. Israel, already, had fought battles, and many more were yet to come. Though not battles with wartime armaments, we constantly face spiritual enemies. Our commitment must be strong.
I was alone and idle,
I was a sinner too,
I heard a voice from heaven
Say there is work to do,
I took the Master's hand,
And I joined the Christian band,
I'm on the battlefield for my Lord.
I am on the battlefield for my Lord,
I'm on the battlefield for my Lord;
And I promised Him that I would serve Him till I die.
I am on the battlefield for my Lord. -- Sylvanna Bell & E. V. Banks (1945)