No Tricking God (Numbers 32:23)

Numbers 32:23 (ESV)

But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.


            As Moses and the Israelites approached the promised land, two-and-a-half of the twelve tribes wanted to settle in the land across the Jordan, just outside of the promised land. As Moses heard this request, he gave the tribes a stern warning. If they were trying to get out of helping Israel take the promised land, they were in deep trouble.


            The tribes responded to Moses by assuring him that they had no intent of discouraging the nation or shirking their responsibilities. On the contrary, the two-and-a-half tribes intended to send their soldiers ahead of Israel to help them settle in the land. They would then, once Israel was settled, return to their inheritance across the Jordan.


            Moses heard the promise of the two-and-a-half tribes, and he agreed that this promise was good if it was true. But as we see in verse 23 above, Moses also had a warning for the tribes. If they were trying to trick God, intending to not fulfill their promise of fighting for the land with the rest of the people, they would be in great sin before God. They could not hide from such sin. Their sin will indeed find them out.


            As we watch this warning from Moses to the tribes, we can hear a warning for ourselves too. God knows our hearts. God knows our intent. We cannot trick God with empty words. We cannot promise something, go back on our promise, and think that we pacified God by making promises we did not keep. No, our sin will find us out. If we make empty promises and use empty words of commitment, God will know it and deal with us appropriately.


            Christians, make true commitments to God and follow through on those commitments. Never think you can fool God. Never think that you can boast of a gift you will give and that be enough. No, we need to become people of our word. Our “yes” needs to be yes and our “no” needs to be no. What we promise, we need to follow through and deliver. This is not to earn favor from God; rather, it is simply to honor God as the Holy One who sees into our hearts and who always knows our motives and actions.

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