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Chinese6/7/2005English
經文:民數記卅二章
鑰節:「倘若你們不這樣行,就得罪耶和華,要知道你們的罪必追上你們。」(32:23)
提要

        以色列人擊敗米甸人後,擄獲了許多額外的牲口,和肥沃、適合放牧的土地(31:32~34)。流便和迦得二支派於是想定居在這塊新得的土地上,而不欲跨越約但河;但這並非上帝的計畫。上帝已經將約旦河西之地賜給所有的支派為業,上帝並要藉著拈鬮決定各支派的居所。

        摩西對這二支派的要求,頭一個反應是憤怒。他怕他們的請求會影響其他的支派也滿足於目前所得的土地,而不願深入迦南,面對未知的敵人。摩西以多年前以色列人在加低斯的悲劇為鑑,警告他們三思。當時他們的父執輩使以色列人灰心喪膽,不願進迦南,他們的背叛招來上帝的審判(民十四章)。流便、迦得二支派於是再次向摩西保證,他們並不是想背叛上帝,他們所有的戰士都將全心全力支持以色列人在約旦河西的爭戰,只有他們的家人和牲畜先不過去。

        由於他們的堅持和所發的誓,摩西於是同意了他們的請求,雖然我們沒有讀到他像往常一樣,在作重大決定之前先尋求上帝的引導。摩西強烈的警告他們務必信守諾言,否則便是得罪上帝,上帝也必追討他們的罪(32:23)。後來的記錄顯示,流便和迦得二支派的確照他們所承諾的,派遣士兵過約但河爭戰。瑪拿西半支派或許是看到流便、迦得的要求獲准,於是也決定和他們一樣留在約但河的這一邊(書4:12;22:1~4)。

        流便、迦得、和瑪拿西半支派在得到摩西的首肯後,便立刻去重建米甸人被焚燒的城市,又重新為那些城市命名。上帝並沒有打算要任何以色列人居住在應許之地以外;這些支派選擇定居次好之地,規避了上帝仁慈的賜禮,同時也失去了上帝的祝福。他們的行動也表現出對上帝旨意的輕視,因為他們將自己的意念置於優先。歷史證明,摩西同意他們留在約但河東,給以色列人帶來許多問題,因為當人意超過神意,就阻礙了上帝的計畫,而導致重重問題。以色列人一定居應許之地後,約但河東和約但河西的支派間立刻就產生了衝突和誤會(書22章)。流便、迦得和瑪拿西半支派的人不只在地理上與其餘的支派分離,他們之間一度曾有的和諧統一也失落了。他們在戰時得不到充足的保護;流便、迦得、和瑪拿西半支派是以色列國中最先被擄的(王下十七章;代上5:26)。他們遠遠的脫離會幕和聖殿的敬拜,缺少與上帝應有的交誼,使他們的靈命大受折損。

        我們從本章學到一個功課,活在上帝的旨意中勝過出於自私的欲望,自己作選擇而嘗苦果。跟隨上帝的人才會蒙福。上帝知道萬事,包括我們的動機。得罪上帝的事絕不會被忽略,因為「你的罪必追上你」。無論如何,我們的罪有一天終會顯露出來(審判日),但「我們若認自己的罪,神是信實的,是公義的,必要赦免我們的罪,洗淨我們一切的不義。」(約壹1:9)。

禱告

        主啊,求您保守我們不做短視、自私的選擇,免得我們在生命餘下的年日堣ㄞ鉯磽瘙z純全的旨意。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Numbers 32
Key Verse:“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.”(Numbers 32:23 )
Overview

        With the defeat of Midian, the Israelites acquired much additional livestock and land that was fertile and favorable for grazing (31:32-34). Rather than crossing the Jordan, the tribes of Reuben and Gad desired to settle in these areas, but this was not God’s plan. He had given all the tribes their inheritance on the other side of the Jordan and their placement was to be determined by God through the casting of lots.

        Moses’ initial reaction to Reuben and Gad was anger. He was afraid that their request would influence the others to remain complacent with what they had already received, rather then going on into Canaan where they would have to face unknown enemies. He related their request with the tragedy at Kadesh many years previously, which resulted in their fathers discouraging the people from entering the Promised Land and the rebellion which led to God’s judgment (Num.14). The tribes reassured Moses that their request was not and act of rebellion but that all their fighting men would wholeheartedly support hem in the battle on the other side of the Jordan, though their families and livestock would remain.

        With their persistence and vow, Moses consented, although we do not read of his seeking the Lord’s guidance beforehand as he usually did with important decisions. He strongly warned the tribes of Gad and Reuben to be true to their words, for the break them would be a sin and God would surely know (32:23), implying divine wrath would come upon them for lying to him and God. The records show they remained true to their word and sent their soldiers across in battle, along with those of the half tribe of Manasseh (Josh.4:12; 22:1-4), who probably decided to remain with them in Transjordan when they saw the others had permission.

        After Moses’ consent, these tribes quickly went to work rebuilding and renaming those Midianite cities, which had been burned. It was not God’s intention that any Israelite settles outside of the Promised Land; however, these tribes settled for second best, shunning God’s gracious gift, and in so doing they missed His blessing. It also showed a disregard for His will, because they put their own will first. History proved that Moses’ consent for them to remain in Transjordan brought many problems, for when man’s worldly choices come before God’s, it hinders. His purpose and leads to trouble. Soon after Israel had settled in Promised Land, conflict and misunderstanding arose between those on the God-given west side of the Jordan and those on the east (Josh.22). The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh were not only separated geographically from the rest of the tribes, but also separated in that they lacked the unity they once had. This afforded them less protection in time of war; they were the first tribes to be taken into captivity (2 Kings 17:1; 1 Chron.5:26). They were far removed from the Tabernacle and Temple worship, so they lacked the proper fellowship, which was detrimental to their spirituality. In the time of Jesus, these descendants of Israel had long since lost all claim to the promises of God through Abraham and were spiritually apostate.

        We learn from this chapter that it is better to be in the center of God’s will than to make our own choices out of a selfish desire and pay the sad consequences. Blessings follow those that follow the Lord. Our God knows all things, including our motivations. Sin against the Lord never goes unnoticed, for indeed “your sin will find you out”. In one way or another, our sins will be exposed (judgment day), but “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John1:9).

Prayer

        O Lord, please keep us from making short-sighted and selfish choices which could keep us from doing Your perfect will throughout the rest of our lives.


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