The tribes of Reuben and Gad kept livestock and liked what they saw in Jazer and Gilead. So they asked to stay on the east side of the Jordan River, rather than dwell in Canaan with the rest of Israel’s tribes. Moses wasn’t happy … until he heard the rest of their proposal. They would fight with the rest of Israel until the victory was won and the other ten tribes had possession of their inheritance. Only then would they return to the land they had staked out on the other side of Jordan. Though they had found the land they wanted, and planned to stay and be farmers, they felt committed to join the rest of the military that would be at war, until that war was won. Moses agreed.
Then they came near to him and said: “We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones, but we ourselves will be armed, ready to go before the children of Israel until we have brought them to their place; and our little ones will dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until every one of the children of Israel has received his inheritance. For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this eastern side of the Jordan” (Numbers 32:16-19, NKJV).
Many warriors throughout history have come from the everyday ranks of the civilian population. Some have even been farmers like the tribes of Reuben and Gad. In the United States, they have served in the Reserves and the National Guard. These volunteer men and women have stood the line and answered the call in every war of our nation. Often misnamed “weekend warriors,” they come from every background, ethnicity, vocation, and location imaginable. They bear arms right alongside their active duty brothers and sisters, even though they will probably leave the battlefield sooner. They are unique in that they serve a dual role as civilian and warrior, and thus they can be called to duty with little or no forewarning.
The challenges that accompany the reservist or guardsman are multitude, and should never be discounted. Even biblical history records such challenges . . . leaving family, vocation, and community with no certainty of a safe return. Yet, these same challenges have the capability to develop character and fortitude within the warrior. Couple these challenges with true faith in God, and the “weekend warrior” can realize a depth of life and spiritual integrity. Even in the midst of the numerous challenges, serving as a reservist can prove to be a rewarding experience.
Commitment is a common theme in the armed forces and no less common in the reserve forces. Warriors generally have a reason for serving: patriotism, duty, honor, and opportunity all echo the heart and mind of the warrior throughout history. What greater commitment of the man or woman who at the beckoning call leaves family, job, education, and the comforts of home to don the uniform and spend extended periods of time in training … and even war? That commitment alone brands “weekend warriors” a misnomer. They serve with the commitment that when duty calls they answer. Some pursue a military career or service with a sense of calling.
If there was ever a place for godly people, it is in the military. This calling is not merely for the clergy who serve as chaplains, but any warrior may find that God has ordained his or her duty and service . . . a true commitment to God and country. That same calling for the Christian warrior can apply to the reserve or guard—a very important role.
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.