Within the context of continuing preparations for entrance into the Land of Promise, and against the backdrop of the LORD instructing Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites for their actions against Israel; Numbers 32:20-23 reads: 20 So Moses said to them, “If you will do this, if you will arm yourselves before the LORD for the war, 21 and all of you armed men cross over the Jordan before the LORD until He has driven His enemies out from before Him, 22 and the land is subdued before the LORD, then afterward you shall return and be free of obligation toward the LORD and toward Israel, and this land shall be yours for a possession before the LORD. 23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.”
The them that Moses is speaking to here are the sons of Reuben and Gad. These sons of Reuben and Gad asked Moses to allow them to settle in a specific part of the Land; the area known as the Transjordan. Initially, Moses rejected their request. But then the sons Gad and Reuben offered to fight alongside Israel in order to help God’s covenant people take possession of Cannan.
So Moses agreed to let the sons of Reuben and Gad settle in the section of Land they wanted if they would keep their word to militarily fortify the other tribes of Israel. Then Moses warned them that if they did not fight, if they did not come alongside the other Israelites in battle, not only would that be a sin against the LORD, there would also be consequences for their disobedience.
Now even though this warning concerns a specific and singular situation in Israel, there is an application to be gleaned from this for those of us who follow Messiah. When we deliberately and consistently choose to disobediently act out, we too will experience negative and often serious consequences for such actions.
So what do we do? We should do what Daveed Melech – King David did in Psalm 51. When it comes to sin, don’t conceal, get real. Don’t conceal, get real. Be a Davidic mensch!
What does this mean? What does this look like? First, express confession. Appeal to God. Acknowledge sin. David said, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love! Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts! Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin (Ps. 51:1-2)!”
Second, request cleansing. Ask God to remove sin, restore joy, and renew spiritual intimacy. David wrote, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven! May the bones you crushed rejoice! Hide your face from my sins! Wipe away all my guilt! Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me (Ps. 51:7-10)!”
Thirdly, have confidence. God can forgive, and God can fortify. Regarding this truth, the Spirit inspired David to say; “Certainly you do not want a sacrifice, or else I would offer it; you do not desire a burnt sacrifice. The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit– O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject (Ps. 51:16-17).”
Here’s the deal: Once freely obtained, salvation is eternally secure! And, it’s also possible to lose an opportunity to serve God, particularly in a leadership capacity; if we don’t adequately deal with sin. So when we get real with God about who we are, and what’s really going on in our lives, we can say something like, “LORD don’t put me on a shelf. I still want to be a part of what you’re doing in the world. God use me! Here I am. Send me!”
Express confession. Request cleansing. Have confidence. And be encouraged, because when you do this; your sin and guilt is removed, your spirit is renewed, and you’re able to fully, freely, and enjoyably participate in God’s service. Why? Because your cleansing is complete. Because instead of doing conceal you do real.