Prophecies of Balaam; Israel sins; the plague stopped because of the intercession of Phinehas
The last encampment of the Israelites on the eastern side of the Jordan River was on the Plains of Moab northeast of the Dead Sea near Mount Nebo, a few miles south of today’s Amman, Jordan (Numbers 22:1; 33:49; Joshua 2:1; 3:1). Everything seemed peaceful, with no apparent danger. But once again Israel ignored the Word of God who said: Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works (Exodus 23:24). And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel (Numbers 25:1-3; Exodus 23:31-33; 34:14-16).
The friendliness of the Moabite women led the Israelite men to be-come involved in sexual immorality and idol worship, thus breaking their covenant vow of allegiance to the One True God (Numbers 31:16; Revelation 2:14). This disobedience resulted in a plague of death that swept through the tribes of Israel and those that died in the plague (pestilence) were twenty and four thousand (Numbers 25:9). Some say that we should not be judgmental, that we should be tolerant of the immoral (alternative) lifestyles that are increasing in popularity. But if we are committed to Jesus as Lord of our lives, then we will bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). Sexual sins are still an outrage against God: Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glo-rify God in your body (I Corinthians 6:15-20).
The Apostle Paul was led to describe true Christian conversion as turning from idols to serve the living and True God (I Thes-salonians 1:9). Turning from idols is far more than merely professing that we are Christians. The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve (Matthew 4:10). Jesus warned that the way of eternal life is a narrow . . . way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (7:14). Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven (Matthew 7:21).
Thought For The Day: Those who allow greed to control their way of life reap misery and judgment to themselves.
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 Ephesians 6:11).
As the prophesied Star and Sceptre (Numbers 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 (Revelation 22:16).
Pray for Staff: Jennifer Palafox • Country: Greece (11 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Greek and English • Government restrictions on witnessing to others about Christ • 97% Greek Orthodox (2% churchgoers); 1% Muslim; .4% Roman Catholic; .1% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray persistently (Isaiah 62:6).
Optional Reading: Luke 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 4:15