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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5 - Numbers 23-25: Balaam Proves Faithful, Israel Cheats on God

Today’s Reading: Numbers 23-25

The Message

English Standard Version


Thought to Guide Your Reading

Balaam, a non-Israelite, proves more faithful than the actual Israelites.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Balaam told Balak he would only speak God's words. Three times Balak took Balaam to a high place to curse Israel. Three times Balaam blessed Israel. Balaam spoke of Moab's downfall to Israel. Annoyed, Balak sent Balaam away.
Some Israelite men cavorted with Moabite women and worshipped their gods. God ordered the public executions of Israelite leaders for this great sin. Moses ordered the executions of the guilty men. Phinehas, Aaron's grandson, followed one son of an Israelite leader and a daughter of a Moabite leader and speared them together, killing both. Phinehas's zealous attack for God soothed God's anger.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Balaam presents a great example of someone not willing to compromise his task for any reason.

Balaam could have used this as a chance to gain money, fame, and power by doing what Balak wanted. He had faith that someone would not kill him on the spot. He submitted himself to God and God used him to bless Israel. God will work through anyone willing to speak His word regardless of the circumstance or the potential outcome.

The blessings Balaam gives Israel are noteworthy.

Balaam's blessings come from what God saw in His people. Because they obeyed God Balaam blessed them. Israel would defeat Moab and occupy their land. Nothing would prevent God's word from coming true—not armies, magic, or other gods.
Christians today should listen to Balaam's blessing. When God makes a promise, nothing in this world can stop the promise from coming true.

Israel's crime was worshiping other gods, not being around the Moabite women.

God's several warnings came true. The people of Israel spent time with Moabite women, fell in love (or lust) and began worshiping their gods. It is as if they forgot God in the face of a pretty girl. Beware people with allegiances to other gods. They can and may lead you to split your allegiance with our God.
As I wrote then I want to reiterate—this is not about racial or denominational purity. God does not want His Chosen People fraternizing with people from other allegiances because they are to be His Holy People. This does not mean we should stay in a social cave and never speak to anyone else.

Phinehas ends God's anger by bringing God's justice to a powerful man's son, not executing two guilty people.

Remember, these people are God's Chosen People. They have made a vow to serve only the God of Abraham. God has promised them land and great blessings. When we make a vow and break that vow, there are great repercussions. The man was the son of the leader of the tribe of Simeon. Phinehas could have started a civil war by executing this man. But this does not stop him from bringing justice. God can set things right on this earth through His Chosen People when they ignore political power and implement God's justice. This does not mean all sinners should be executed. It means justice does not respect political power.
Do you have an example of a non-Chosen Person outdoing the Chosen People in fidelity to God? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.
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