Two and a half of the tribes of the children of Israel received their inheritance before Israel had crossed the river. However, before they could settle down and enjoy their “promised land,” they were commanded to help the other tribes cross over and receive their inheritance.
This is a beautiful picture of the love God requires between believers. The twelve tribes maintained their individuality and distinction, but they were also bound together by being a nation.
In Joshua 1:12-15 we read: “And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh Joshua spoke, saying, ‘Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, “The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.” Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help them, until the Lord has given your brethren rest, as He gave you, and they also have taken possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise.’”
Jesus said that the visible evidence that we are Christians is in a demonstration of love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34, 35)
Corrie Ten Boom once said “the Christian army is the only army in the world that shoots their wounded.” She was referring to the judgmental attitude and the division that has filled much of the Church. It is time for us to love each other with the love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)
1 John 4:16 tells us that “we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” God is love. Our Heavenly Father is love, and as His own children, we are filled with His love. We are the children of perfect love. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)
God not only encourages us to love each other, He commands it. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7, 8)
The cruelest people I have ever known have been religious people. However, there is a vast difference between religion and relationship. The litmus test that we see here in 1 John is love. Love is the evidence that a person is truly born again. Jesus told us, “By their fruit you will know them.” That fruit is found in a person’s character and displayed in the way he treats other people.