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Doing Nothing is a Sin Against God

By Marvin L. Weir

The setting for our lesson is found in Numbers 32:1-33. The children of Reuben and the children of Gad sought their inheritance on the safe side of the river Jordan (verses 1-5). They had great herds of cattle and saw that the land they requested would suit their needs well. The tribes of Reuben and Gad remembered their cattle while quickly forgetting about the needs of their brethren. Moses cuts to the heart of the matter in replying to their request: “Shall your brethren go to the war, and shall ye sit here?” (verse 6).  From this penetrating question of Moses, let us learn that:

All Of The Lord’s People Should Have A Common Cause! There were twelve different tribes of Israel, but they were all brethren (verse 6). If one tribe faltered in their obligations and responsibilities all other tribes would be affected. God does not desire weak links with His people! One tribe not functioning as it should might very well jeopardize the rest of the tribes.

We owe our brethren today the help and support they need to defeat the Devil and his helpers. All faithful brethren will be interested and involved in whatever concerns the kingdom of God. How can one seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and do otherwise? (Matthew 6:33). As Paul stresses, “And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (1 Corinthians 12:21). God does not intend for there to be any “schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (verse 25). We must do what is necessary to get others and ourselves to Heaven!

Putting Self First Endangers The Lord’s Work! The Reubenites and Gadites decided the land of Jazer and Gilead was just what they wanted. Never mind the other ten tribes—they could fend for themselves! A tremendous tool of Satan today is lack of involvement and unconcern among God’s people. As long as my needs are met, as long as I am satisfied, as long as I am not disturbed, as long as I am willing to ignore—all is okay! As a member of the body of Christ, I must be concerned and actively involved in the body of Christ. To do less is mere selfishness and puts the cause of Christ in danger.
 
Ignoring The Work At Hand Discourages Others! Moses said, “And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which Jehovah hath given them?” (Num. 32:7) God had given the Israelites a job to do. He expected His people to rally around and support one another in obeying His commands. There are many different ways we can discourage our brethren today. One way we do so is through our unbelief in failing to do what God would have us to do. Another way is by magnifying the difficulty of a task and indicating that what God has commanded will not be successful. Complacent indifference is a spiritual killer!

Seeking The Spiritual Best Interest Of Others Helps The Cause Of Christ! Did the tribes of Reuben and Gad care whether or not their brethren possessed the Promised Land? Do we care today if our brethren go to Heaven? Do we care if the Lord’s church has “spot” and “wrinkle” or do we strive to see that it is “holy and without blemish”?(Ephesians 5:27). To keep the church what Christ would have her to be, truth must be proclaimed and practiced!

Devotion To God’s Will Secures His Promises And Blessings! “If ye will do this thing, if ye will arm yourselves to go before Jehovah to the war, and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before Jehovah, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, and the land is subdued before Jehovah; then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless towards Jehovah, and towards Israel; and this land shall be unto you for a possession before Jehovah” (Num. 32:20-22). One cannot expect to ignore God’s commands and inherit His promised blessings!

Doing Nothing Is A Sin Against God! The tribes of Reuben and Gad were to have their possession on the east side of Jordan provided they helped their brethren drive their enemies out of the Promised Land. Moses reminded them, “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against Jehovah; and be sure your sin will find you out” (verse 23).
 
The principle is still intact today! The sin of idleness, neglect, or unconcern in the Lord’s kingdom will surely find us out. One who is a coward, indifferent, and enamored with worldliness and immorality will not escape the wrath of God. Brethren who seek to please men and man-made idols work for the Devil and not for Christ. Some brethren choose to not “take sides” and be unpopular and embroiled in controversy. But remember brethren, doing nothing is a sin against God!
 

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