March 16, 2021

Numbers 24:1-25:18

This mysterious prophet Balaam, now prophecies for the third time, but it seems a bit differently now. He uses no worldly ways (we’re not sure what the “sorcery” of this seer exactly was Numbers 24:1) but apparently Balaam’s eyes are opened to the fact that God has great plans for Israel, and that the Spirit has a ready word.

To summarize – God was about to give Israel the immediate victory, and the LORD through their Messiah would bring about the ultimate victory.

“His King shall be higher than Agag” (the title of the Amalek king) (Numbers 24:7b).

“He shall consume the nations” (Numbers 24:8).

And then the reiteration of Genesis 12:3:

Numbers 24:9b (NKJV) “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.”

Here the king of Moab hired a prophet to curse Israel but the prophet reveals to him that God’s people cannot be cursed, and as a matter of fact, if you even attempt to curse God’s people, you will be cursed! By now the king of Moab should have realized that his best bet at this point, would have been to bless Israel, but he didn’t.

King Balak’s anger was aroused and he informs Balaam, that because he didn’t curse Israel, he wasn’t going to get the money after all (Numbers 24:11). Balaam says the right things but has the wrong heart. He can’t but prophecy the words the LORD puts in his mouth, but we will see later, how Balaam connives aonther way to make some money.

Balaam’s fourth prophecy was one of “Him” – the Christ:

Numbers 24:17 (NKJV) “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.”

Numbers 24:19a (NKJV) “Out of Jacob One shall have dominion…”

It’s sad to hear the world call fallen men and women – stars. Jesus is the “Star,” the only Superstar; we read in Revelation 22:16 that Jesus is the Morning Star in reference to the One who brings about the rising of a new dawn. The scepter, which is a symbol of sovereignty would rise out of Israel, the ONE who would have dominion and defeat ALL the sons of tumult (the loud and rebellious crowd). Another one of hundreds of prophecies regarding the coming of Christ.

Balaam then prophecies concerning the Amalekites and the Kenites, a more prominent people back then. After which, Balaam goes home, but not before teaching Balaak how Israel might curse themselves. We read this behind the scenes, insight in Jesus’ words to the compromising church of Pergamos:

Revelation 2:14 (NKJV) “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”

In Numbers 31:8 and Joshua 13:22 we see that Balaam was killed by Israel in the midst of the Midianites but it’s not until we get the New Testament light, do we get the full and complete picture.

In Numbers 25 the Moabites send women to seduce the men of Israel; it would be sexual sin woven into the worship of their gods.  According to Numbers 25:9 twenty-four thousand died in the plague because of this, and if it weren’t for the intervention of Phinehas, more would have died. You see, the children of Israel couldn’t be cursed by others, but in this way, they could curse themselves. Balaam taught Balaak this weapon of sexual and spiritual warfare, and was therefore able to receive his money after all – but it cost him his life, and his soul (Mark 8:36).

Satan’s tactics haven’t changed much, he takes down many men and women of God through sexual sin, every single day!

(Online article on Balaam)

How we need to beware of the absolute idolatry of sexual immorality! 

Phinehas becomes an example to us, in his zeal for God and holiness. Here was a couple that didn’t just fall into sin, but they flaunted their sin, right in front of Moses’ face. Not that we are to spear people in the middle of the act, for we are not the theocracy that Israel was, but that we would have such an absolute hatred for sexual immorality that we ourselves would stay pure, that we would do everything we can to prevent others from falling, and help others to get up and out of this sin.

Luke 2:1-35

The prophet Micah had predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), but Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. At just the right time the Emperor issued a decree that a census was to take place; all the world would be taxed, and every man was to participate in this by returning to his hometown. Joseph and Mary therefore traveled close to ninety miles, and there, in a stable of all places, the Lord Jesus was born (Luke 2:7).

Did God “make” Caesar Augustus register the world? I don’t believe we’re puppets on strings, or mindless machines but somehow God is able to orchestrate His perfect plan without violating our free will.

Something I wonder though is, why God didn’t have reservations at the royal inn for the birth of His Son? As a matter of fact, when they arrived in Bethlehem there was no room for them in the inn. Had God dropped the ball in His celestial planning? Of course not, it’s all part of His plan, His nature, even the way He has come in complete humility. (Imagine laying your child in a feeding trough as a crib!)

We have another example of God choosing the weak things of the world as He sends the angelic host to the shepherds who are in the field. Warren Wiersbe said, “In that day, shepherds were looked upon with disdain; but God singled them out to be the first human messengers of Messiah’s birth.” What wonderful words were relayed to them in:

Luke 2:10-11 (NKJV) “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”

The shepherds were blessed by the announcement of the angels, and the birth of this baby, so they did what we should all do, they told others about Jesus – they made him known, far and wide:

Luke 2:17 (NKJV) “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.”

We’ll read a couple of times in this chapter how Mary kept these things (events) in her heart (Luke 2:19, 51) and this was no doubt one of the ways Dr. Luke gathered his information, as Mary shared her heart with him.

When Jesus was presented in the Temple, some very amazing things are revealed. First of all we get a glimpse of the poverty of this family – Joseph and Mary couldn’t afford a lamb. Exceptions were given in the Levitical law for the poor, and they offered small birds instead.

Secondly, while all this was taking place, there was a man named Simeon who was just and devout to whom God had revealed that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah with his own eye. So one day, the Holy Spirit tells him to go to the Temple, and sure enough on this day he saw Jesus and he knew, this was the ONE. I love the way He simply sees Jesus as “salvation,” (Luke 2:30). Salvation all bundled up in a baby, salvation provided in a Person; not a process, not a program…just a Person, the Messiah had arrived, the Lord Jesus Christ.

You may have noticed Luke writing to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32) and his emphasis on the Holy Spirit. As mere men and women, we need the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Simeon also revealed to Mary her future pain and Jesus’ purpose (Luke 2:33-35).

Bible Knowledge Commentary had this to say about Simeon’s prophecy, “Throughout His ministry Jesus proclaimed that the only way to the kingdom, something the nation had long sought, was to follow Him. The ones who did so would receive salvation; they would “rise.” But the ones who did not believe Him would not receive salvation; they would “fall.”

Psalm 59:1-17

David prays/sings and essentially says, “Deliver me, Lord. Defend me. Save me. The enemy seeks to kill me for no reason – deal with them Lord. In the morning and at evening, they surround me, they’re watching me…so Lord, I pray to You, I trust in You, I wait on You.”

The background to this Psalm is 1 Samuel 19 when Saul seeks to murder David simply because he’s jealous of David.

It’s instructive to learn that even though David here clearly turns to God and trusts in the LORD, David ends up fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 19:12, 18). There are times when God protects us in such ways of practical wisdom. We are not to test God, we are to trust Him, and follow Him every step of the way .

Proverbs 11:14

The Hebrew word translated “counsel” is a nautical term, “…used of steering a ship. A wise person is open to others’ opinions and counsel. Without such counsel, the people fall.”

Imagine yourself out in the middle of the ocean, it would be easy to get lost in 140 million square miles of water, how do we navigate without counsel, without a compass, without a clue?

Granted, some are wiser, and some are smarter than others, no one knows it all, and we all need different perspectives – pretty much all the time. I thank God for my wife, I even bounce things off of my children, – for I trust them. I’m also blessed with other pastors and friends to receive counsel from as well. I need it.

This passage is the flip side to:

Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV) “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”

Pastor Chuck, “How many people have fallen because they won’t take counsel, they won’t listen to counsel? But in the multitude of counsellors there’s safety (Proverbs 11:14). Seek someone else’s advice. Seek an opinion of a person that you respect, a person who isn’t so emotionally involved in the situation, as you are. Someone who…can be…more objective.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

2 thoughts on “March 16, 2021”

  1. Thank you for these words:
    “It’s instructive to learn that even though David here clearly turns to God and trusts in the LORD, David ends up fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 19:12, 18). There are times when God protects us in such ways of practical wisdom. We are not to test God, we are to trust Him, and follow Him every step of the way .”

    Some may think that trusting God always looks like, ‘ let go amd let God’ or just sit still and ‘let God do His thing’. But that’s not always the case.
    The most important thing is to hear the voice of God , lead and direct our steps and follow Him, sometimes it may mean being still, but other times it’s taking wise practical steps. A reminder to me of the importance of abiding in Him through His Word daily, that I would hear His voice and follow Him.

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