It is finally time for the warriors of the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan to return home. The people have rest from war and a place to rest.
I had wondered about this home going. One of the problems with going straight through with our study is that not all the questions are answered when they arise. I have read ahead at times because I got caught up in the story but I’m trying to remain with the reading/writing schedule set out each day. I HAVE read through most of my bible before but apparently I have forgotten a fair amount of the stories. This is VERY sad to me. Hopefully, by spending so much time with each story they will stick better this time.
It is time for the tribes that were given possessions on the east side of the Jordan to go home. During the time of the campaign the men of battle from these camps had been part of the camp of Israel. They went where Joshua went. They fought beside their brothers in every battle. They kept their promise to help their brothers until they also had possession of their land.
The families of these tribes however remained in the territory Moses had granted them. Through all the years of battle and the waiting for the assignment of territories for the remaining tribes, our two and a half tribes’ families had kept the home fires burning. I wonder how much has changed since they parted ways. Did those who stayed ‘home’ work on rebuilding the cities and making homes for themselves? Did they remain in tents until their men returned home?
We know they must have at least continued the care for the animals. The sheep had to be fed, pastured, sheered and bred in their absence. I wouldn’t doubt that those who stayed ‘home’ even dealt with selling and buying required in the shepherd business.
I want to know how both groups adjusted to being back together and also being separated from close association with their brothers. But I think I better hold off on this because there is more waiting for us on this home going process a little further in our reading. I’m excited to see where it will take us!
The camp is officially breaking up. For at least 45 years Israel has camped together in the order assigned by the Lord. Now the group is disbanding and heading to their own territories. It’s time for everyone’s lives to take on the tasks of the Lord while separate from one another. “Be very careful to observe the commandments and the las of Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and to cling to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (verse 5).
I can see LOTS of hugs happening in the camp as everyone began breaking down their campsites. Promises of “we will meet again at the festivals” are going around. Many are making plans to keep in touch and exchanging tokens demonstrating a special bond. I wouldn’t be surprised to see tears flowing down more than a few cheeks and running into beards.
Along with their regular possessions those going back across the Jordan are bringing their portion of the spoils of war. What they are bringing will also be shared with those who stayed home to protect the families left behind. I won’t even attempt to guess what all was contained under this heading. I would expect it to be a large cache though. Something to help their families and those who watched over them for these many years.
Families today don’t resemble those in the bible very much. The close knit groups that were intricately woven into each other’s lives. Yes. We still maintain family bonds and care for one another but seldom do you see the degree of connectedness exhibited during the time of Israel’s travels. I wonder if they would have been so tightly connected if it wasn’t for the Lord bringing them together.
I come from a large family. My father is the second of eleven children. My mother is the fourth of five children. I’m the second in my family of five children. My husband’s family was a blended family and he lays claim to three branches which include his two natural brothers, three half siblings and at least two step brothers. His mother was the third of four children. I don’t know the count on either of his father’s household but I’m constantly hearing names of people I’ve never met who are “aunt ___” and “uncle ___”. I have four children of my own and my husband has two. Between the two of us we have eleven grandchildren. We don’t rival Israel’s “family” but we certainly make a good showing!
I can’t even claim to know all that goes on in my children’s lives, let alone what transpires with the generations before me. I wish there was more connection at times but I’m as to blame for that as anyone. I don’t even attend the family reunions that are hosted. When I did attend I felt like I was in a sea of strangers because of the daily disconnect. Those who live within close proximity to one another maintain deep ties but those of us who are separated by distance experience that distance in our relationships too.
It takes WORK and a shared purpose to maintain any relationship. Just because you grew up in the same household doesn’t mean your relationship will be a tight bond forever. In fact some of those relationships take the most work to maintain or grow. You have to choose to keep that connection. You have to keep the lines of communication open and flowing. You also have to choose which memories to cling to. Do you hold onto all the hurts or to the joys instead? Can you see past the childish things you went through together and cherish the growth at the end? Will you hold fast to the things that bound you together in the beginning or lose them all to create your own way?
One “string” that MANY in my family, on ALL sides, clings to is their faith in God. That alone should bind us tighter to one another than even blood lines. It is our Heavenly blood line. That was the same thread that Joshua was counting on to bind the families of Israel together. I guess that binds me with those who broke camp that day too. Ties through time, courtesy of our Father. (I feel a poem may be lurking in those words.)
Father God, thank You for bring me something special out of our reading today. I want to deepen the ties with my family. The ones from previous generations probably need restringing from the basics. I pray the MOST IMPORTANT tie with my children would restring itself; that of faith in You. I hold fast to Your promises regarding my children: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). I place them once again in Your hands to re tie their knots.
I have been isolated and isolating myself for too long. I need fellowship. I need to reconnect. Lead me in this Holy Spirit. Show me where to plant my seeds of friendship. Protect me from making the wrong “investments” or fair weather friends.
Thank You Holy Spirit for that check in my spirit just now. I recognize my fault in friendship. I work well with another when they have a need that I can assist with. I run into trouble with the everyday stuff as my conversations tend to focus on the troubling issues. I need to focus on the joys instead. Not that a friend is only there for the good times but that there needs to be more joy shared than pain for the relationship to survive. Help me with this Holy Spirit. I DO want someone to share both with.