The two tribes of Gad and Reuben wanted to settle on the east side of the Jordan River. They saw how plush the land was, and how the Midianites who had occupied it before had been eliminated in a previous battle. They approached Moses for permission to settle in this land. After the horrors of the war with Midian, it might be assumed that Moses expected that the leaders of these two tribes were becoming squeamish about the war that they would have to face in the Promised Land. There have always been those who have resisted going to war on religious or ethical grounds in every generation. But Moses deals with this in his answer. The Message translation really captures the indignation in Moses response. It says, “Do you mean that you are going to leave the fighting that’s ahead to your brothers while you settle down here? Why would you even think of letting the People of Israel down, demoralizing them just as they’re about to move into the land GOD gave them?”

Freedom is never “Free.” Someone has to pay the price in a fallen world to defend it from the Tyranny of those who would enslave the world. There have always been Hitlers in the world, and until the Lord returns, there always will be.

Dag Hammarskjold said, “It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity.”