Reaching the Goal
Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. For a long time now–to this very day–you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you. Now that the LORD your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes. Joshua 22:1-6
At the start of the conquest, crossing the Jordan and attacking Jericho, the fighting men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, commit to going with the other tribes and fighting until the other tribes get the lands promised by the Lord. After a long time, the land is generally taken control of. There is still much to be done to completely drive out the people occupying the land, but each tribe has their allotted land defined. Joshua was 59 years old when Moses died. Joshua died at 110 years old. There is no clear indication when Joshua released the eastern tribes to return home, but it was after they fought for “a long time.” Joshua was described as old and well advanced in years when God directed him to assigned the remaining tribes their land and have them finish their own conquest. After Joshua assigns the land, he releases the eastern tribes. It has been many years, perhaps 40 years or more that the eastern tribes’ fighting men have been away from their families. If it has been even close to that long there certainly have been men that died without ever getting back to their families. All these men, whether they returned to their families or passed away, showed their commitment to God knowing He was first in their lives, and also in the hope of securing their families’ futures. May you have a commitment to God as the eastern tribes did, one that lasts for all the days of your life.