The tribes that settled to the east of the Jordan (Reuben, Gad, East Manasseh) were all once very sure that they wanted Yahweh, and that their quest for good pasture lands would not keep them from holy devotion to Him. But over the centuries they lost sight of the God of Israel and His divine mission for them, and they fell into the dark pit of idolatry. They were the first tribes to be sent into exile by the Assyrians.
What was the mission God had for them?
2. Continue in the conquest of the Promised Land, and don’t go all pagan in creation worship.
What is the mission that God has for us?
1. Worship (Exodus 20:1-11, Hebrews 10:19-25)
2. Continue in the new “conquest” of the world (Romans 12), and don’t go all pagan in creation worship.
Our “conquest” includes:
1. The Creation Mandate Conquest (Genesis 1:28 and 1 Corinthians 10:31)
2. The Great Commission and Sanctification Conquest (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:3a)
Jesus puts these all together not only for our justification, but also as the perfect model for our lives. Hebrews 13:7-16 presents us with an inspiring pattern for the New Testament church in every place and time. “Jesus also suffered outside the camp.” He went, as it were, to the wrong side of the river when He died on the cross outside the city wall of Jerusalem. We go to Him when we live out our divine mission “outside the camp and bear the reproach that He endured.” Why not just flee to some Jerusalem and stay there? We can do that, but there is no safe space for us like that under the sun. “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” The only real security for us is to have the true Jerusalem living within us as we serve Him in this present Babylon.