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And just when it looks like Balaam was turning out to be maybe not so bad in chapter 24... we get to chapter 25... In chapter 25 we read about Israel's sin in worshiping Baal and their sexual immorality. What we don't find out until Numbers chapter 31 verse 16 is that Balaam was the principal instigator of the idea of leading Israel toward this sexual sin & idolatry: "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people." Revelation chapter 2 verse 14 also refers to Balaam's hand in the incidents that took place: "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality." Reading about these incidents in chapter 25 today - do you think people today still live in this tension of serving God versus being seduced by idols? What saves us from this tension?
Bob Deffinbaugh's take on Chapter 25 and Balaam's behind the scenes work is at Bible.org at this link and leads off with, "Balaam’s Advice: “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!”" is at this link.
Today in Numbers chapter 26 we read about Israel's second census, which was commanded by God. (We'll read later in the Bible a census conducted by David that was not commanded by God, which was a sin.) This 2nd census in numbers was taken approximately 38 years after the first census. The first census in Numbers chapters 1 & 2 was taken after Israel had left Egypt. This second census is being taken just before the conquest of the Promised Land. In verse 51 today we read: "So the total number of Israelite men counted in the census numbered 601,730." This total of the second census compares to 603,550 from the first census, so is very comparable. These second census numbers obviously reflect the 24,000 deaths we read about in chapter 25 - so this number would have been higher. To me, overall, to see the numbers so similar over 38 years in the wilderness shows that God's hand of blessing was so clearly upon the Israelites. They were flourishing in the desert. Hopefully this is encouraging to us today. If we are in right relationship with God, I believe our lives will clearly flourish in whatever circumstances we might find ourselves in - even if we are in the desert!
Worship Video: Today's readings reminds me of the FFH song "One of these Days:"
Are you prepared for Jesus' Second Coming? Click here and be prepared for that Day!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the LORD’s anger burned against them." Numbers 25:3 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will never yoke yourself to any false God or idol. Pray that you will never anger the LORD through idolatry of any kind.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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