Numbers 32:1-19

Talks for Growing Christians

The Tribes of Reuben and Gad ask to Settle on the East Side of the Jordan River

Numbers 32:1-19

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Lesson Number 35

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God desires His people to cross the Jordan.
  2. God does not force His people to cross the Jordan.

Practical Application

  1. Beware of too many cattle.


  1. Summarize the status of the Israelites at the beginning of Numbers 32.
  2. What is the request of the tribes of Reuben and Gad?
  3. How does 1 Corinthians 10:11 relate to this lesson?
  4. What is a “type”?
  5. What is crossing the Jordan a type of?
  6. What is the heavenlies?


  1. The Israelites were gathered on the plains of Moab. This second generation was ready to cross the Jordan and begin the conquest of the Promised Land. A considerable amount of land had already been conquered on the east side of the Jordan.
  2. These two tribes requested to be allowed to remain on the east side of the Jordan River and establish their dwellings there, rather than cross into the Promised Land with the other tribes.
  3. 1 Corinthians 10:11 says that all the things that happened to the Israelites, including this situation with Reuben and Gad, were given as an example or type to us as believers.
  4. A type is an Old Testament person, place, thing, or event which illustrates a New Testament truth. The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan is a type of the Christian’s spiritual life.
  5. Crossing the Jordan is a spiritual picture of a believer crossing into the heavenlies.
  6. The heavenlies is the sphere of spiritual blessings and battles that God wants the believer to enter into now as a result of our new life in Christ.


  1. Discuss the spiritual picture presented by the two tribes that would not cross the Jordan. How are some believers not “crossing the Jordan”? This is a very applicable spiritual picture.
  2. Moses was afraid the compromising attitude of the tribes of Reuben and Gad would discourage the rest of the tribes from entering the Promised Land. If you choose not to be a fully committed Christian, God will not force you. But consider the discouraging effect this has on fellow believers. Discuss the discouragement that results when one believer is not continuing in their Christian walk. It may have negative effects on that believer’s spouse, children, and closest friends.


  1. When the Lord is on your side, the enemy is no match. Although the Amorites and Midianites had considerable strength, they were no match for Israel, who had the Lord on their side. Is the Lord on your side?

Key Verses

  • “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan.” Numbers 32:5
  • “Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD has given them?” Numbers 32:7

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