We are in the World Stream reading from The Living Bible.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Dear God is Heaven: We thank you that you have a plan for us. A plan to establish and prosper us (go forward and grow us), and to take us to where we have rest in you. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.
There is precious little time left before the Israelites need to pack up and cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. Let’s see what occupies some of their final days before going to where God has always wanted them to be.
31 – Moses has a major assignment, along with delivering the Book of Deuteronomy before he dies. This assignment is to obliterate the Midianites. He instructs the Israelites in the battle plan and off they go. This was a mop-up plan God had since the Midianites were the ones who led tens of thousands of Israelites astray into idolatry and fornication wherein 24,000 Israelites died [Numbers 25 – though the mess begins in Nu. 22] .
So in this stage of the game, 12K Israelite soldiers attack Midian and decimate every last soldier – – without losing one Israeli soldier. The Lord then exhorts them to finish the job and rid the Midianite women who were the actual beings who lured the Israelite men into fornication. So the grown women and the all remaining males are executed in addition to eliminate future uprisings or opportunity to sin with the Midian “street-walkers”. The young virgin women are allowed to live for they would tend to not grow up and lead battalions against Israel if you know what I mean. Plus they can be trained to be efficient house helpers and gardeners. The rigors of dividing up the loot from all of Midian wealth and animals and young survivors was a mammoth ordeal. You wouldn’t suspect any of the Israelis were particularly bothered by the sizable ‘pay day’ each of them experienced.
32 – The Tribes of Reuben and Gad present their desire to settle east of the Jordan for the land there was excellent for raising sheep. After Moses cross examined them for any intentions to avoid the conquest process of crossing the Jordan, he allowed them to set up their world east of the Jordan. Manasseh became part of the “east of the Jordan” bunch as well. It was a practical matter more than anything. The land had been occupied by pagan people who were newly removed by the Israeli army and someone needed to occupy it lest it become wild jungle and a lair for beasts. So this seemed to work out that Reuben, Gad and part of Manasseh live there
33 – The journeys of the Exodus and the forty years prior are listed. It’s like reading over the Lewis/Clark journals at the end of their trek that Thomas Jefferson sent them on. Look back over the itinerary of any nomad or traveler or explorer at the end of 40 years’ of trekking and it’s an impressive list. Here is the list of all the places the Israelites had covered [on foot!] since leaving Egypt. It’s a dizzying rendition. My husband finished college there winter 1985 and he has been to many of the cities the Bible tells about between Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Sinai wiiderness, and 400 miles up the Nile to Karnak in Egypt. Map out the places if you would like to do that. It’s a journey that would leave any of us wide-eyed. And remember that 95% of this wandering was not the original intention. God had a rest /a place / a home for them. But they didn’t and wouldn’t. God wanted them to drive out all the pagan tribes once they entered Canaan. so they could have wondrous rest and security. But they didn’t, then they wouldn’t. Turns out in time that they couldn’t. The issue lingers to this day.
God has a place and a rest for us, His people. Let’s allow Him to take us there..