Snapshots: Day 133
The Snapshot: “For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites.” (Josh 22:3) Loyalty and faithfulness. The tribes who had wanted to stay east of Jordan (see No. 96 & Num 32) had come and helped the others and fought and helped them take the land. Now it was time to go and take their own inheritance in the east. But instructions follow – be yourselves but remember you are still Israelites, God’s people. Live like it! There are times when we need to be ourselves but that is never to be at the cost of the body of Christ. Reclaiming ourselves means becoming more the person God has designed and called us to be. Faithfulness trumps individuality and selfishness.
Further Consideration: The struggle, for the Christian, is always between being yourself and being a member of the body of Christ. As an individual, if you are like me, you crave for time and space, for peace and an opportunity to be refreshed, to do what you as a person do. But then there is a world out there that God loves and, even more, there is the church, God’s people, the family of God, the body of which I am a part.
It is a body in need and there are those I can care for and encourage and pray for, but then I am part of this body that serves and so I have given myself to being a servant within it that calls on my time, calls on my energy and calls me to pray; I am no longer just mine. But that is healthy for self-centredness can generate so many wrong thoughts and feelings. Ah, and there is another reason; I need to be with this body, recognising its presence and being part of it, for I need feeding, challenging, instructing, by them; I dare not exist just on my own for it is so easy to lose perspective, fall of the rails and be less than I am called to be.
We were never designed to be alone and when we come to Christ we find an existence, an identity that lifts us and makes us something so much more than we were when we were alone. The Reubenites and Gadites (Num 22:1) had clearly been prosperous, they “had very large herds and flocks,” and the land to the east of the Jordan was just right for them and it was natural to want to stay there but they gave up that right to fight alongside their brothers.
But now it was time to return and pick up their inheritance, back there to the east, but it was a land closer to outsiders and as such they needed the ongoing support and protection of their own people, they needed to remember they were still the people of God, even if living some distance away, and if they were to preserve their identity there, they needed to remember and hold fast to God. So do we in our parts of ‘the land’?