"SHALL YOUR BRETHREN GO TO WAR
AND SHALL YE SIT HERE?"
The very probing question which serves as the title for this article is found in Numbers 32:6. "And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?" The scene is this: The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh requested permission from Moses to settle on the eastern side of Jordan. Moses was reluctant to give this permission for several reasons. Some of those reasons follow:
It would not be fair for the brethren to fight and these two and one-half tribes to sit. It is very tragic but in the church today we find that very problem. We find many members who are fighting the good fight of faith. "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12) These people are working for Christ. However, we also find those who are sitting. Announce any good work or something that needs to be done and you can always count on the faithful to do it. They "do" while many others "sit." "Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?"
It discourages the hearts of your brethren if you sit and instead of going to war for God. "And wherefore discouraged ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?" (Numbers 32:7) Think of how discouraging it is when many who could come, many who could visit, many who could work and many who could attend or do any of the good things that must be done but choose not to do so. It is certainly discouraging to the hearts of those people who are truly involved. Let us never be a discouragement to the work of God and to the people of God.
It is sinful to sit while your brethren go to war. Moses warned the people about an increase of sinful men. "And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel." (Numbers 32:14) He warned them that their sins would find them out. "But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out." (Numbers 32:23) It is a sin to sit instead of fighting for God. Many want a beautiful building, active benevolent programs, great mission programs and a totally working and wonderful church. But, they choose to sit instead of fighting. It is sinful to sit instead of fighting for God.
The cure for sitting is for each person to do his part. "And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As the LORD hath said unto thy servants, so will we do. We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours." (Numbers 32:31-32) The people said, "We will pass over; we will be armed." They were willing to fight and to do their part to take the land. Are you willing to do your part? Will you support the Walnut Street Church of Christ and the work we will do this year? Will you support our youth program will you sit? Will you support our mission program or will you sit? These are questions we all must answer. Our answers will be provided by our actions!
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26) It is necessary to be in Christ in order to be saved. But it is not enough just to have been baptized into Christ. In Christ we must live faithfully to the end. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:36) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) May God help each of us to remember who we are, where we have been, and where we are going.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA