Bible Pathway - Feb. 23, 2012

 

Read Numbers 23:1

Highlights:

Balaam prophesied blessings on Israel and yet thousands die. In today's chapters we learn why Phinehas is given the highest priestly honor recorded in the Old Testament.

Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his (Num. 23:10)!

The greatest prophetic revelation of Christ thus far in the Bible was given by the Gentile prophet Balaam. These prophecies were given when the Israelite nation moved near the borders of the Moabite kingdom. King Balak became very concerned for his own security. Knowing how the Israelites had overcome the mighty Egyptian empire, Balak attempted to hire Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam refused, saying: How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? . . . Behold, I have received Commandment to bless (23:8,20).

King Balak offered huge rewards to Balaam several times if he would curse the Israelites. Balaam desired the recognition and rewards that King Balak offered, and they induced him to make several deviations from what he knew was the will of God. But Balaam was one of the many people who know the right Scriptures and long to die the death of the righteous (23:10), but are unwilling to live the life of the righteous.

Balaam succeeded in turning the Israelites from Jehovah by suggesting that the Midianites invite Israel to participate in their religious rituals. This led the men of Israel to commit adultery and fornication (25:1-3; 31:16). Balaam knew that the curse of God would be upon Israel for their sin. Then, Balak would have his security, and Balaam would receive his reward.

There is more condemnation in the New Testament about Balaam than about Judas, who betrayed the Son of God. Yes, this was the same Balaam upon whom the Spirit of God had come (24:2); the one who had seen the vision of the Almighty (24:4); the one who had the honor of foretelling of the coming King of kings (24:17).

The whole world lieth in wickedness (I John 5:19), and our natural tendency is to be drawn away from God. Even among Christians, the main topics of conversation are centered around the things of the world. In order to test the true character of any of our interests, we need only to ask whether that thing leads us to God or away from Him.

The Bible strongly warns us to beware of those which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam (II Pet. 2:15). . . . and ran greedily after . . . reward (Jude 1:11).

Thought for Today:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night (Ps. 1:1-2).

Christ Revealed:

As the prophesied Star and Sceptre (Num. 24:17). Christ is coming to reign in great glory (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).

Word Studies:

23:3 peradventure, perhaps; 23:10 dust, descendants; 24:14 advertise, let you know; 24:18 do valiantly, be triumphant; 25:1 commit whoredom, have intercourse; 25:3 kindled against,  became angry against; 25:7 javelin, spear; 25:13 seed, descendants, offspring; atonement, effected reconciliation; 25:17 Vex, Besiege; 25:18 wiles, treacherous deceit; beguiled, deceived.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts: Sponsored by Lt. Col. & Mrs. Walter Swanson • Staff: Jennifer Palafox • Government Official: Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX) • Country: Spain (39.6 million) in southwestern Europe • Major languages: Castilian Spanish and Catalan • Limited religious freedom • 85% Roman Catholicism; 1% Islam; .5% Protestant; .5% Jehovah's Witness; 13% Other (Mormon, Jewish, Secular Humanist) • Prayer Suggestion: Ask to be guided by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16).

Optional Reading: Luke 10:1

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 3:19

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