Recently Mom and I were having a conversation and at the end of it, Mom said, "As your Granny would, say, "be sure your sins will find you out." I can hear Granny saying it now! She had a lot of sayings but we quote that a lot! Then at work today someone mentioned their mother saying, "be sure your sins will find you out." We started laughing and the other person said, I think those are old southernisms. So I decided to check.
Numbers 32: 23, "But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out." Granny was just quoting scripture! Moses was speaking of one particular sin, that being a stubborn refusal to follow the Lord!
I always thought it meant that our sins will someday be found out and that we won't get away with sin. Of course these are true because nothing is hid from God. Proverbs 15: 3, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good." I don't know why we forget that God sees every thing, not just the good. He is not a parent with His head in the sand! Luke 12: 2, "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."
So what does Numbers 32:23 mean? The Israelites were about to enter into the Promised Land. The tribes of Reuben and Gad didn't want to live in Canaan, and they told Moses this. Numbers 32: 2, "So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said..." They had large herds of cattle, and saw that there was plenty of land on the east side of the Jordan River. The Promised Land was on the West side of the Jordan River. Moses was upset and told them that the rest of the tribes would be discouraged by their unwillingness to enter into the Promised Land. They would also be discouraged because they needed all the manpower for battle. They asked Moses if they could remain on the East side of Jordan if they promised to help fight with the rest of the tribes for the Promised Land. Reluctantly, Moses agreed but he told them that if they didn't keep their promise...their sin would find them out!
The Gad tribe is preoccupied with their own will. It is like us thinking that God expects us to take care of our family first and pay our bills. Then as soon as things calm down and we get a little ahead we will give more time and resources to God. This is our rebellion. We are not putting God first.
Numbers 32: 23, "But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out." It is the sin we commit that will haunt us one day. That is what the verse means - sin always leads to misery and regret. Sin brings regret, bitterness, guilt, shame and resentment. Maybe not immediately but somewhere down the road. Whether or not others discover our sin, our sin will discover us. We cannot run from the consequences.
Revelation 1: 5, "...and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth." Exodus 12: 13, "The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt." The only way to escape sin's consequences is to be forgiven of your sin by faith in the blood of Christ.