Numbers 32 is, in the grand sweep of Biblical history, little more than a footnote. It describes a bargain made between Moses and the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. The tribes want to settle in the land on the east bank of the Jordan. Moses, though, is concerned that if given the land, they will settle there and not help the rest of the Israelites conquer their allotments.
The would-be settlers promise that if they receive the land on the east bank, they’ll still help with the conquest of the west bank. Moses agrees to this. However, he adds in Numbers 32:23, “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”
“Be sure your sin will find you out.” The story might be unimportant, but the principle is timeless. The decision to sin is, by definition, a decision taken with the short term in mind. We sin because we are interested in some passing pleasure, not because we are considering the consequences.
However, ignoring those consequences won’t make them go away. Indeed, when it comes to sin, they are always present. Sin, especially among believers, is commonly practiced in secret. Jesus warns us, though, in Luke 12:2, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Affairs come to light. Addictions get exposed. Lies get found out. It is generally true that our sins will come to the attention of the very people we hoped never would learn about them.
Sometimes, though, that’s not true. Sometimes we live the dream. Sometimes we sin, and no earthly soul ever finds out about it. Even then, though, our sins still has found us out. It still has affected us, scarred us, warped us, and distorted us. The practice of secret sin will never make us more like Jesus. It will, however, make us more like the devil, and the devil’s indwelling will be evident in the way we treat our families, friends, co-workers, and brethren. Sin is poison. If we take it into ourselves, it will surely poison us.
Finally, though, our sin will surely find us out before the throne of God on the day of judgment. We can fool everybody else. We can lie to ourselves about the corrupting effect of our sin on our character. However, God knows exactly what we are up to, and He will always chart the degradation of our souls with supernatural precision.
If we repent of our sin and seek Jesus instead, He is a compassionate God, faithful to forgive us. If we continue in our sin, we will surely give an account for it. God will bring every act into judgment, and if we knew the way of righteousness and the cost of sin, but chose to sin anyway, He has every reason to punish us. No sin, no matter how delightful, can outweigh the torment of an eternity spent apart from God.
This is a sobering matter. All of us have tasted the sweetness of sin. The devil would love for us to spend the rest of our lives drinking deeply of it. However, sin is no more healthful for us than old-style antifreeze is for a dog. If you sin, be sure your sin will find you out. You won’t like it when it does.