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Today in Numbers chapter 22 we read about Balak sending for Balaam - hoping Balaam will curse the Israelites. Balak sends messengers the 1st time and Balaam gets a message from God to not go with these messengers, as God has blessed the Israelites. What is interesting to me are verses 15-17: "Then Balak tried again. This time he sent a larger number of even more distinguished officials than those he had sent the first time. They went to Balaam and gave him this message: "This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Please don't let anything stop you from coming. I will pay you well and do anything you ask of me. Just come and curse these people for me!" For some reason these verses really reminded me of temptation in our lives today. Like Balaam with the messengers on their first visit, we may realize something is not what God would want us to do - and we send the temptation away. But... then the temptation can come back! In a bigger way - with more distinguished officials than before... with more allure than before... the temptation that we resisted once so valiantly can come back. And then, the question becomes - with the opportunity to be "paid well" by the temptation, will we still resist the temptation? Can we resist the temptation a 2nd time? Through Jesus, our mediator before our Heavenly Father, yes, I know we can. If temptation has visited you once - or twice - or even many times - will you pray to God today in the name of Jesus that temptation will never overcome you?
Today in Numbers chapter 22 we read about Balaam’s talking donkey! Yes, this is a very unique portion of scripture, and, yes, one we can learn from. In verses 27 & 28 we read: “When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" There is a lot going on in the verses leading up to this point, and in the verses thereafter – which you can study more at this link . I think one thing for us to pay attention to here is how we are sometimes saved from a bad situation by what at first glance appears to be an “inconvenience.” A donkey laying down and starting to talk is inconvenient to Balaam. But, this talking donkey saved Balaam from an angel with a sword in hand that Balaam could not see. Are there perhaps “inconveniences” in your life today that are maybe saving you from a bad situation? Or, do you recognize inconveniences in the past that saved you from a bad situation? I know I have. If my car breaks down or I get sick or I miss a flight – all inconveniences – I try to remind myself that it might just be possible that this inconvenience was meant to be. It may have saved me from something much worse happening. The inconvenience – the “talking donkey” – may have actually saved me from something I could not see. Keep your eyes open for inconvenient “talking donkeys” in your life :) – and praise God for them when they appear! Here's Rembrandt's take on Balaam's talking donkey from the year 1626:
Bible.org commentary on Balaam in chapters 22 & 23 is at this link.
Today in Numbers chapter 24 we read about Balaam’s prophecies! Verse 17 is thought to be prophetic of Jesus: "I see him, but not in the present time. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the foreheads of Moab's people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth." Tyndale's commentary today suggests that the star rising from Jacob may be the prophecy that convinced the wise men to travel to Israel in search of the newborn Jesus. Here's an image of Balaam prophesying over Israel's camp: (and of course Balak looking horrified over this blessing that Balaam is giving)
Worship Video: Today's readings in Numbers today about the messages God gave Balaam to give to Balaak reminded me of The City Harmonic's song "Manifesto:"
Have you ever sang loud Amen's like this song? Click here and sing Amen forevermore!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" Numbers 23:19 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will trust God completely. Pray that you will see God's promises made and promised kept in the Bible this year, and in your life.
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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