Why Settle?

Why Settle?

(Numbers 32:1-33)
Moses read the memo over and 
over again. 
He could not understand where 
these guys were coming from. 
What got into them? 
Why are they bringing this up now? 
He got up from his seat and paced 
around his office, deep in thought. 
At times like this, you question your 
leadership skills. 
Could it be a problem with my 
leadership skills, he wondered? 
I always thought we were all on the 
same page all these forty years. 
These people will not kill me!

He sat down again and called his 
secretary on the intercom: “Please 
get me Joshua!” 
He needed to discuss with somebody,
 as he was at his wits’ end. 
His PA, Joshua has a way of calming 
things down, he definitely has a good 
heart, that Joshua…

A few minutes later, Joshua came in. 
He could see the worry lines on 
Moses’ face. 
Moses hardly gets worried. 
For him to be in this state, something 
must be terribly wrong. 
“Good day, sir. You sent for me- hope 
there’s no problem?” 
Moses signaled for him to take a seat as 
he handed him the memo. 
“I just got this memo from Reuben, Gad 
and half of Manasseh. 
What do you think?” 
Joshua read the memo and heaved a sigh. 
The memo didn’t make any sense. 
These guys are asking not to go into 
the Promised Land with their countrymen! 
Moses cleared his throat and started talking. 
His words were carefully chosen and 
Joshua knew he was hurt. Very hurt. 
“When God told me to lead these people 
out of Egypt and take them to the 
Promised Land, I was very reluctant. 
I never wanted this job. 
I was very content, working in my 
father in-law’s company. 
I had no problems, I had job security. 
Joshua, did I ever tell you I was in 
charge of my father in-law’s farm? 
He had thousands of sheep and cattle. 
I would lead them out to feed- I did 
that job for forty years! No issues. 
No stress. But ever since I started 
leading these folks, it’s one stress 
after the other! God gave me a mandate: 
take these folks out of Egypt and take 
them to the Promised Land. Simple. 
The journey was to take forty days only. 
We ended up taking forty years to get 
where we are now, just at the point of 
entry. Now, Reuben, Gad and half of 
Manasseh say they don’t want to go in. 
They want to settle here, just outside 
the Promised Land. Why?”

Joshua tried to make some sense from it. 
“Sir, their memo gave an explanation on 
that- they have a lot of cattle and you 
can see this land here is very lush with 
grass. I guess they just want the best 
for their cattle…” Moses laughed sarcastically, 
“Yeah, right! Do they know what kind 
of grass they would find in the 
Promised Land? I can guarantee you 
the grass there is greener! 
They are so short sighted! Same issue 
with Lot, remember? He chose the land 
because it was lush with grass, leaving 
our fore-father Abraham with the harsh soil. 
But what happened? Lot ended up in 
Sodom, he lost all the cattle he was 
concerned about- and he ended up 
living in a cave with his daughters, 
fathering their sons!”

Joshua looked at the memo again. 
“It’s a bit strange that only half of 
Manasseh wants to stay here. 
The other half wants to go into the 
Promised Land. Why are they divided?” 
“Yes, Joshua. 
The more annoying thing is, Reuben is 
the instigator of this nonsense! 
He is the firstborn, for crying out loud! 
I expect more from him. 
Honestly, I am disappointed in him!” 
“I guess that was why Jacob said 
he is unstable as water”, Joshua retorted. 
“Anyway, how do we handle this, sir?”

Moses pressed the intercom again. 
“Please send me the Head of the 
tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh” 
They walked in in about twenty minutes. 
“Moses waved the memo at them in 
“Why? What is the meaning of this? 
Why do you guys just want to give 
me high blood pressure? 
Why do you want to discourage the 
others with this silly request? 
You say you have cattle. 
Don’t we all? Why are you so faithless? 
This is the same silly thing your fathers 
did, a journey of forty days was extended 
to forty years. 
You have started again! 
Do you want God to extend the journey 
for another forty years?”

“No sir. We don’t mean any harm- we 
just thought this land is very fertile and 
we want to take advantage of it…”

“But you haven’t seen the land where 
we are headed? Why settle for less? 
Why do you think this land is better? 
Why are you judging by sight?”

“Okay, let us have a truce sir. We will 
go with you into the Promised Land, 
we will fight with you and clear out
 the people there. 
When everybody is settled in, we will 
return to this land to settle. 
We believe this is our own inheritance, 
not the Promised Land…”

Moses and Joshua looked at each other. 
Then they went into the inner chamber
 to deliberate on the issue. 
After an hour, they came back into the 
office. Moses cleared his throat again. 
“Gentlemen, I guess your minds are 
made up. 
We will all go over into the Promised Land 
and when your brothers have settled in, 
you will return here to settle. 
It shall be as you have said. 
I don’t think you or anyone should settle 
for anything less than God’s perfect 
will for him, but it’s your call.”

“And I hope it won’t be your loss!” 
Joshua added as they walked out 
of the office…