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January 7, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Genesis 22-24
Audio: Genesis 22-24

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Numbers 23 (ESV)

And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height,and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“From Aram Balak has brought me,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
    and come, denounce Israel!’
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags I see him,
    from the hills I behold him;
behold, a people dwelling alone,
    and not counting itself among the nations!
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!”

11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14 And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16 And the Lord met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17 And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“Rise, Balak, and hear;
    give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
19 God is not man, that he should lie,
    or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
    Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20 Behold, I received a command to bless:
    he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
21 He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,
    nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
    and the shout of a king is among them.
22 God brings them out of Egypt
    and is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
23 For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
    no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
    ‘What has God wrought!’
24 Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up
    and as a lion it lifts itself;
it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
    and drunk the blood of the slain.”

25 And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘All that the Lord says, that I must do’?” 27 And Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.”28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the desert. 29 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

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Next: Numbers 24

Back: Numbers 22

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

    In our reading yesterday in Numbers 22, we learned that Balak (king of Moab) feared Israel may take his territory after defeating and destroying Og, King of Bashan, and Shihon, King of the Amorites, so he summonsed the renowned (but counterfeit) prophet and diviner Balaam for help. 

    He said, "Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. 6 Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed" (Numbers 22:5-6). 

    Just as God spoke through Balaam's donkey in Numbers 22, He will speak through Balaam to declare that Israel's blessing cannot be revoked (Numbers 23:19-20). In the next chapter, the Lord will also speak through him of future blessings for the people of God. 

    There are counterfeit spiritualists all around us. In our little town, there are houses and commercial spaces dedicated to psychic readings and the like. 

    I had a client who owns a clothing store. She decided to change her business model and begin offering psychic readings in her store. That's why I said I "had" a client. I told her that I wouldn't be a part of that and we amicably ended our contract. 

    That may have cost me a few thousand dollars but she knew I was a Christian and a pastor and learned how little money meant to me in light of her wanting to offer psychic readings. My hope was that in that conversation, God would have not only opened her eyes to the dangers of pursuing this new endeavor but would have opened the doors to the gospel. I did speak to her about Christ but we went our separate ways. 

    The Bible offers warnings against such practices:

    Leviticus 19:31 "Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God."

    Leviticus 20:6 "If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people."

    Deuteronomy 18:9-14 says, "When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this."

    Jesus said in Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

    Acts 19:18-19 says, "Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver."

    Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

    1 John 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."

    As followers of Jesus Christ, tarot cards, psychic readings, ouija (weegee) boards, horoscopes and other aspects of the occult have no place in our lives. Not only do they not provide any value, they are used of the devil to deceive people. If God warns us, we should heed His warning!

    Just as Balak's plan was doomed from the start, so are ours if we engage and participate in these demonic practices for "help" or "guidance."

    All blessings flow from God. He is our provider and sustainer. He is the guider of our steps and our trust should be fully on Him and Him alone.

    As the Doxology says,

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
    Praise him, all creatures here below;
    Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
    Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

  2. “And he answered and said, ‘Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?’” v. 12

    I love how Balaam did not shy away from doing what God asked him to do, even though he knew Balak was going to be offended and there might be serious consequences for his obeying God and speaking truth to Balak. I’m reminded of Nathan being sent to confront David about his sin. Or Daniel being given the opportunity to speak to Nebuchadnezzar on behalf of the Lord. Or of any number of prophets in Scripture sent by God to His people. 

    Do we have servants of God in our lives who are bold enough to speak truth to us and help us to see areas where we might be experiencing spiritual blindness? And are we humble, open to listening, and teachable? 

    I’m grateful for all the men and women of God the Lord has placed me in relationship with to speak truth when I need to hear it. I need them. And I pray I will always be humble and teachable so I will grow in grace and truth and become more and more like my Savior. 

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