As I was reading in Numbers the other day I came across a couple of verses that I don’t ever remember noticing before. Moses, through God’s direction, had just finished instructing the Israelites on how to set up and tear down the tabernacle. They were ready to travel on. As they were about to leave, Moses had a conversation with his father-in-law’s son, Hobab. Apparently, Hobab was preparing to head back to his own home.
“Moses said to Hobab, son of Moses’ father-in-law Reuel the Midianite: “We’re setting out for the place the Lord promised: ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”
But he replied to him. “I don’t want to go. Instead, I will go to my own land and my relatives.”
“Please don’t leave us,” Moses said, “since you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can serve as our eyes. If you come with us, whatever good the Lord does for us we will do for you.” - Numbers 10:29-32
It’s not clear from this passage what Hobab decided to do. I imagine he had his mind made up, that he went back to his family, to what was familiar and comfortable. Have you ever known anyone like that? Haven’t you ever looked at someone who had great skills, who had a lot to offer to the kingdom of God, but they just weren’t interested in using their gifting for God? Maybe they weren’t even saved. Maybe they were saved, but they just weren’t all in.
Churches are full of Hobab’s. Each week the pastor gets up and offers a challenge, a challenge to go deeper, to do more, to sacrifice greatly, but they just walk out the door, unmoved. “I don’t want to go, Instead, I will go to my own land and my relatives.” It’s too bad.
The journey is not easy. But the reward is great. When Nancy and I chose many years ago to follow, whatever the cost, to be a part of God’s great adventure, we had no idea what life would bring our way. But even now, when it would be easier to go home, I wouldn’t trade it for anything - because I know that God is in control, that He is using us right where we are. Traveling through the wilderness, unsure of what the day will bring, is hard. It wears on you. It’s tiring. But the reward is so great.
Moses promised Hobab that he would receive the same blessings that had been promised to all of Israel. He would be a part of the team, a part of the family. Hobab had valuable gifts, he had something to offer. He knew his way around the wilderness, he knew the good places to camp. Moses saw something in Hobab. But Hobab chose the easy, comfortable path. He went home.
What about you? You’ve been invited to join in the greatest adventure of all time. “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” You’ve been invited to join the team, to offer your gifts (we all have something to offer). God wants to use you to accomplish his mission. How have you responded? You are either on the team, doing your part, or you are in the stands, watching the time, looking for your chance to go back home. Have you said - verbally or by you actions - “I don’t want to go?”
“If you come with us, whatever good the Lord does for us we will do for you.” Don’t go home, don’t be left out of this amazing adventure.