Those who choose to live on middle ground share certain characteristics! The characteristics of the two and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh) can be found today in those who refuse to pulverize their idols and die to the world. Their Hebrew names expose them!
Reuben means, “A son who sees!” He was Jacob’s firstborn, but he lost his birthright because he was driven by lust. Jacob described his son Reuben as “…unstable as water, thou shalt not excel….” Reuben went into his father’s concubine, and Jacob, in his dying hour, said of him: “Reuben…thou defilest…thou went up to my couch…” (see Genesis 49:4).
Reuben had eyes only for this world—its lusts, its things, its pleasures. He was unstable because his heart was always divided, and this spirit was passed on to his posterity. Here was an entire tribe attached to the world and bent on having their own way.
Gad means, “Fortune or troop.” Simply put, this means soldiers of fortune or mercenaries. Moses said of Gad, “He provided the first part for himself…” (Deuteronomy 33:21). This tribe was outwardly obedient, “executing the justice of the Lord,” but the overriding characteristic was self interest. Gad was consumed with its own problems and the need to “make it.”
Gad’s philosophy was, “I will fight with the Lord’s army; I’ll be obedient and do everything God expects of me. But first I’ve got to get a stake in life. I need to get myself and my family set up and then I’ll be free to do more for the Lord!”
Manasseh means, “To forget, to neglect.” This was Joseph’s firstborn son and he should have received the birthright. But even in his childhood there was a sad trait developing and Jacob saw it in the Spirit. Manasseh would one day forget the ways of his father Joseph and neglect the commandment of the Lord.
Consider these combined traits of middle-ground Christians: Unstable as water in spiritual convictions; never excelling in the things of God; lukewarm, weak with lust; ruled by selfish needs; neglecting the Word; not taking the Lord’s commandments seriously; making their own choices instead of trusting God; forgetting past blessings and dealings; unwilling to let go of certain idols; justifying their own decisions; not willing to die to all that would seduce them back to middle ground!
Let us determine to want the Lord’s fullness. God’s desire for you is to enter into a place of rest, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. That required following him “with all the heart, all the strength.”