I am from the tribe of Reuben...
The Israelite families camped on the east side of the Jordan River, waiting for the Lord to say when we should cross into the Promised Land.
Father and mother talked about the good land where we camped with others from the Reuben clan. The pastures fed our cattle and the soil had a dark, rich color. Families from the tribe of Gad agreed. Someone said, "Too bad we can't stay here."
A few days later, Moses announced a command from the Lord. "One thousand men from each tribe of Israel must arm themselves for war. We will attack the Midianites to punish them. Choose your men now and prepare for battle."
Of course I volunteered! Twelve thousand soldiers set out the next morning to conquer the Midianites. The Lord helped us defeat one city after another throughout their country with amazing speed, including all five kings. I'll never forget the excitement of winning a battle.
We brought back animals, gold, silver, clothes, and servants and gave it all to Moses. He and Eleazar, the priest, divided everything among the people in the camp and gave the Lord's portion to the priests.
The captains gathered some of their rewards and brought their gifts to Moses. "We have taken a count of the men who went to war. Not one man from our command is missing. Therefore we have brought this offering to the Lord."
Moses and Eleazar accepted the gold a placed it in the tabernacle as a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord.
After supper, families from my tribe of Reuben joined families from the tribe of Gad. We laughed and slapped each other on the back while telling stories of the Lord's victory. Someone shouted, "Now that we conquered the land, couldn't we live here instead of the Promised Land?"
The heads of the families thought about the idea for a while then decided to ask Moses for permission to live here.
The next morning Moses' balled his fist and shook it at the family leaders. "You only ask because you don't want to fight. A great punishment will fall on the Israelite camp and it will be your fault. You expect us to fight for the land you want, but you won't help us."
When he paused to pace a few steps, the family leaders cleared their throats. "Moses, we want to build places for our animals, wives and children, but we ourselves promise to be armed and ready to go first in the army. We will fight until the Promised Land is taken. We promise not to return home until every Israelite tribe has received their land. You're our brothers. We want to help."
Moses took a deep breath then stroke his beard. He walked close to the leaders and pointed to them. "If you do as you said, fight in the front of the army until the Lord drives out His enemies and the land is taken over, then you may return blameless and own this land. But, I warn you. If you don't keep your word, you will answer to God.
"Really, Moses? This land can be ours? Thank you. Thank you! As you have said we will do." I ran with the leaders back to our tents and told all the tribe members the good news: this land would be our home.
1. What did the tribe of Reuben and Gad not want to go into the Promised land?
2. Who did the Israelites go to battle against?
3. Who really won the battles?
4. What did the family leaders from Reuben and Gad ask Moses?
5. Why did Moses get angry?
6. What did the families from Reuben and Gad promise to do?