Read Numbers 23
Balaam prophesies blessings on Israel and yet thousands die. We learn why Phinehas is given the highest priestly honor recorded in the Old Testament. A Star out of Jacob (Messianic prophecy) (Num. 24:15-19).
All the sacrifices which Balak, the Moabite king, could offer and all the clever schemes of Balaam could not hinder the earlier blessing God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth (Num. 23:16). Balaam told Balak: I have received commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it (Num. 23:20).
Balaam not only could not hinder the blessings, but God used this self-centered prophet to reveal his own awful fate as well as some of the most remarkable, prophetic revelations concerning the coming Savior. I shall see Him (Jesus Christ), but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh (24:17). He also foretold: There shall come a Star (Christ) out of Jacob, and a Sceptre (Ruler) shall rise out of Israel. . . . Out of Jacob shall come He who shall have dominion (24:17,19).
It seems incredible that nothing was as important to Balaam as the wealth Balak was offering him so that he advised the Midianites to seduce the Israelites to join them in "worship of Baal-peor" (25:1-3; Rev. 2:14). This led the Israelite men to commit fornication and adultery with the Midianite women, resulting in a plague of death, and those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand (Num. 25:9). Balaam was still with them at the time God led Moses to go to war against the Midianites. . . . And they slew the kings of Midian . . . Balaam also . . . they slew with the sword (31:5-9,15-17).
It is pathetic to read that the famous prophet Balaam, who had once confessed: I cannot go beyond the Word of the Lord my God (Num. 22:18,38) and: All that the Lord speaketh, that I must do (23:26; 24:13), chose to sin against the people of God to gain his rewards (Jude 1:11).
We are warned to beware of going astray in the way of Balaam (II Pet. 2:15). Likewise also these . . . despise dominion. . . . Woe unto them! for they . . . ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward. . . . These are spots in your feasts of charity (Jude 1:8,11-12). We are further warned: The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love (I Tim. 6:10-11).
Thought for Today:
Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. . . . Many will say to me in that day . . . have we not prophesied in Thy Name? . . . and in Thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23).
As the prophesied Star and Sceptre (Num. 24:17). Christ is coming to reign in great glory, not only over Israel, but over all men (Rev. 19:15-16). Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom (Heb. 1:8). I Jesus. . . . am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16).
23:3 peradventure perhaps; 23:10 dust descendants; 23:22 unicorn wild ox; 24:5 goodly attractive, lovely; 25:3 kindled against aroused against; 25:7 javelin spear; 25:18 wiles treacherous deceit (compare Eph. 6:11).
Pray for Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Government Official: Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX) • Country: Turkmenistan (4.8 million) southwestern central Asia • Major languages: Turkmen and Russian • Religious freedom • 89% Muslim (largely Sunni); 9% Eastern Orthodox; 2% Unknown/Other (Catholic, Protestant, Baha'i, Jehovah's Witness, Hare Krishna) • Prayer Suggestion: Pray in one accord and praise God as the Creator (Acts 4:24).
Optional Reading: Luke 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Exodus 20:5