Explore The Bible Study: God Expects

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Imagine, you have traveled for 40 years and overcome many challenges. Now you are looking toward the next move, knowing that God's promise will be fulfilled, but you decide to stop because you like the place where you are.  What can we learn from the Gadites' and Reubenites' decision? What can we learn about God regarding their decision? What can we learn about keeping our commitments? These questions will help you dive into this weeks' Explore The Bible study: God Expects.

Extensive Review
The study takes us to Numbers 32:20-32 to focus on the importance of keeping promises. The downloadable teaching helps provide an extensive look back at all that has taken place with the Israelites since they left Kadesh-barnea. As you review, consider using a Bible map or the Explore The Bible map in the study guides as a reference.

Discussion of Accountability
In Numbers 32:28-32, Moses requires public accountability from the tribes of Gad and Reuben to the leaders and community of Israel. Moses knew he would not be alive to ensure that the Gadites and Reubenites kept their word, so he informed his successors, Eleazar the high priest and Joshua the military commander, of the agreement. He also held a public meeting and the leaders from Reuben and Gad made a pledge in the presence of all of Israel’s leaders to perform what they had earlier promised to Moses.

This section can generate a lot of discussion regarding how to hold each other accountable. Be sure to set aside enough time for discussion using some of the following options:

Discussion Option (From ETB DDG, p. 63)
  • What are the pitfalls of not holding others accountable?
  • What are some of the benefits of holding others accountable?
  • Why do some believers resist the idea of holding other believers accountable? 
List Option (Need Sticky Notes; From ETB Teaching Plan):
  • Write the word "Accountable" on a large sheet of paper displayed on a wall or table. Distribute sticky notes to group members. 
  • Write on your sticky notes your responses to this questions, “How can we hold each other accountable for our commitments to God?” 
  • Collect the sticky notes and display them on the paper around the word "Accountable," and read aloud the responses. 
  • What benefits might we see when we hold each other accountable? What are the pitfalls of not holding others accountable?
The Bottom Line
While Gad, Reuben, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were granted permission to stay and possess the land east of the Jordan (Numbers 32:33), this did not release them from their obligations to support the rest of the Israelite community. And, we must remind ourselves, too, that staying did not keep them from facing foes or dealing with troubles. They had their share of both!

Here is what we need to understand:
  • We must be aware of the costs of failing to fulfill God’s purposes.
  • We should humbly submit to those who are trying to hold us accountable.
  • We should humbly seek to help each other remain accountable for fulfilling our commitments to God.
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