Moses became furious when the tribe of Reuben and Gad asked for the conquered land east of the Jordon. He thought they weren't willing to possess the land as God had commanded. Instead, they would settle for what was already available and allow the other ten tribes to take the promised land. He knew that would be a significant discouragement to the nation of Israel. He accused them of being just like the ten spies who 40 years earlier had discouraged the people from entering into the land.
Moses asked the Gadites and Reubenites, "Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the LORD has given them? Your fathers did this..." As I read, I realized that is exactly what the ten had done when they came back from spying out the land. They discouraged the Israelites by doubting God and then vocally expressing that doubt. Do I discourage people from pursuing the promises of God when I am unfaithful?
Thinking about discouraging other believers reminded me of Psalm 73:15 which we read last week. Looking at the apparent success of the wicked, Asaph nearly stumbled. He was bellyaching to himself and God about the arrogant and prideful who acted as if there was no God because they seemed to have it so easy. They were rich, fat cats who had it all. They sure didn't have the troubles he had. Then in verse 15, after realizing what he was doing, said, "If I had said, 'I will speak thus,' I would have betrayed the generation of your children."
We need to be very careful in the way we respond with other believers. Just as Moses and Asaph realized how other's words can easily discourage, I need to do the same. Paul said it like this in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Holy Spirit, I know I am to be quick to hear and slow to speak. Please always remind me of that fact. When I do speak may I never discourage my Father's children, instead, may my speech be gracious to their ears.
Have you ever been in the place where Asaph is? He is crying out to God, acknowledging he knows He hears but it seems to be taking an awfully long time. He no longer sings songs of joy at night. He is wondering what has changed. Will God reject him forever? Has God forgotten him?
In verse eleven, something changes in Asaph. He begins to remember all the deeds and wonders of the LORD. After acknowledging God is holy, and there is no one like him, Asaph lists what God has done: 1) You redeemed Jacob and Joseph, 2) The waters, clouds, skies, and lightning respond to You, and 3) You opened the way through the sea.
Don't you just rejoice at the thought of God leading His flock even though we can't see His footprints!
When I was younger, we sang a song titled "Count Your Many Blessings." As I was writing this morning, that old hymn came to mind. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Father God, You are truly the Great Blesser. Forgive me for wallowing in my "Oh, poor, pitiful me" attitude. Help me to remember your steadfast love endures forever. Therefore, Your blessings will also.