Read Numbers 21
Fiery serpents kill; brass serpent typifies Christ who heals! Failures, blessings and victories. Refugees near destination. A donkey speaks to save a prophet (Num. 22:28).
Balak was aware that Israel's God had conquered the Egyptian armies and of all that Israel had done to the Amorites, and he probably feared that he was to be destroyed next (Num. 22:2-4). He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam (22:5). He had heard of Balaam, the prophet, and he hoped that he could persuade him to prophecy against the Israelites.
Balaam received marvelous prophetic revelations and inspiration that came from God. He was endowed with far more than ordinary knowledge of the One True God. He was aware of the relationship of Israel to God, and he knew he could not curse those whom God had blessed. However, the wealth and prominence King Balak had offered him, enticed Balaam to eventually compromise what he knew was the will of God. He should have refused Balak, but he coveted the rewards that were offered him. He loved the wages of unrighteousness (II Pet. 2:15).
Balaam belonged to that great number of people who know the right doctrine, sing the right songs, and can even quote the Scriptures, but they deceive themselves and choose error over what they know the Word of God instructs them to do. They too love the wages of unrighteousness. Like Balaam, they expect to die the death of the righteous (Num. 23:10), yet they are unwilling to live the life of the righteous.
Covetousness comes in a variety of forms, such as: Christ and biblical values not being their first concern. Their concern may not be evil or mere personal pleasure. But they have forsaken the Lord's day, tithing, participation in the Lord's Supper, and the support of the only institution that Christ died to establish. They have no personal heart interest in what God has said concerning Christ (who) also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25) and not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25). They may "serve" God in their "own way" while they live to please themselves. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For . . . whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it (Matt. 16:24-25). Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (Luke 12:15).
Thought for Today:
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Matt. 13:45-46).
By Moses who was faithful to pray to God for the people (Num. 21:7). Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house (family, i.e. the Israelites) (Heb. 3:1-2). Jesus . . . liveth to make intercession (7:22-25).
21:4 compass go around; 21:11 sunrising eastern border; 21:23 suffer permit; 22:1 this side eastern side; 22:4 lick up defeat in battle, consume; 22:5 over against in front of; opposite; 22:6 wot know.
Pray for Country: Turkey (64 million) in Asia Minor and southeastern Europe • Major languages: Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic • Official resistance to Christian witnessing • 79% Sunni Muslim; 20% Alawi Shi'ite Muslim; .2% Christian; .04% Jewish (25,000); .09% Armenian Orthodox; .02% Syrian Orthodox; .02% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray in one accord with other Christians (Acts 1:14).
Optional Reading: Luke 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Exodus 20:5