Christians too often settle for less

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In Numbers 32, the Israelites are pursuing the Promised Land when some of the tribes decide that they would prefer to stay outside the land.

The chapter begins with: “Now the people of Reuben and the people of Gad had a very great number of livestock. And they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, and behold, the place was a place for livestock (Numbers 32:1).” The passage goes to their request to stay in the land: “And they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan (Numbers 32:5).”

They didn’t want to go to the Promised Land!

What they wanted was unwise.  What they wanted was settling for less than God’s best, settling for a land that wasn’t the Promised Land.

It’s an interesting situation.

They do offer to support the other tribes in the pursuit of the land. So it’s not that they’re totally abandoning their brothers and sisters. But this is still them making a decision that undermines the wisdom and goodness of God.

They have the promise of the land and they think that something else will be more suitable.

Their issue is thinking the they had a better plan for them than God had for them.

They didn’t trust that God was good enough to give them something better than what they had found.

While the Israelites are on the Exodus journey, this is the first passage where they lay claim to land, but it’s groups settling for land that wasn’t their land.

They have the promise of the land and they think that something else will be more suitable.

Their issue is thinking the they had a better plan for them than God had for them. They didn’t trust that God was good enough to give them something better than what they had found.

I think we so often settle for less.

It’s easy to focus on what’s comfortable. On what brings the immediate satisfaction. They took what they saw in front of them and decided that the land God had promised hundreds of years before to Abraham would somehow be better.

They played it safe rather than walking in faith.

It’s easy to be a Christian in America but to really go on living like the rest of society.

It’s easy to know that he has promised you land and yet to say, “My kingdom come, my will be done.”

It’s easy to settle for a relationship with God that’s cold and dead. It’s a challenge to pursue him daily. In the good times, you feel like you don’t need him. And in the bad times, it can be tempting to want to blame him.

It’s easy to want to just go it alone.

It’s easy to focus on what you have, what you want, what your goals are, and to have a heart that has little to no real love for Christ.

It’s easy to settle for less.

God wants you to be blessed. He wants you to have a life that is totally oriented and focused on him. But we choose less. We say, “Nah, I’m good right here. The rest of you can go on and know God more deeply.”

Never settle for less than God’s best.

It’s easy not to push. It’s easy not to pursue God, not to pursue holiness, it’s easy to want to go our own way.

It’s our default.

God freely gives grace and that’s the good news of the gospel. Without that, what a sad life that would be. Trying to earn it, never having assurance. In his goodness, God promises eternal life through the cross.

But then we have a choice to make everyday about how we are to live.

Never settle for less than God’s best.

Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.

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Categories: Christian living, Church, Commentary, Faith, Gospel, Theology

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