February 26

Read Numbers 30 -- 31

In Today's Reading:

A reminder to us that judgment belongs to the Lord. Vengeance is Mine says the Lord (Romans 12:19). Can the child of God also claim His protection today?

Verse for Today:

Moses spoke to the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves for the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the Lord of Midian (Numbers 31:3).

Highlights:

Law concerning vows; Midianites conquered; division of booty; officers and captains bring an offering to the Lord for their safe return.

The Midianites were descendants of Abraham and his second wife Keturah (Genesis 25:2). They were often associated with smaller groups like the Ishmaelites, descendants of Abraham through Hagar (16:15), and the Moabites, descendants of Lot through his oldest daughter (19:37). On this occasion they were associated with the Moabites (Numbers 31:8; 22:7; 25:1,17-18). Through the influence of Balaam, the Midianites enticed Israel to commit adultery, which carried the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). Twenty-four thousand Israelite men died because of their idolatrous and immoral sins, for they were guilty of both spiritual and physical adultery.

But the day came when God gave the command to Israel to execute the judgment of God upon the Midianites (Numbers 31:2).

Then Moses appointed Aaron's grandson Phinehas, a priest, to lead the way in this war with the holy instruments, and the (silver) trumpets (31:6). The holy instruments may possibly refer to the Ark of the Covenant that contained the Commandments of God. These preceded the Israelites when they departed from the Mount (Sinai) and the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord went before them (10:33; Joshua 3:14; 6:8). Hundreds of years later, near the close of the period of the Judges when Israel was at war with the Philistines, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore has the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh to us, that, when it comes among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies (1 Samuel 4:3).

The silver trumpets were symbols of truth and of God's direction. Israel's confidence rested in the promise of God: If you go to war . . . blow an alarm with the trumpets . . . and you shall be saved from your enemies (Numbers 10:9).

God gave Israel an overwhelming victory without the loss of one Israelite. All five kings of the confederation and every Midianite male were executed. But Israel failed in not bringing judgment on the women who had caused Israel to sin (31:7-9; 15-17). It should be no surprise that the prominent prophet Balaam . . . they also slew with the sword (31:8). It was not incidental that Balaam, who had chosen to live in luxury among the Midianites enjoying the esteem of the king and the people, shared in their fate. The prophet Balaam is a reminder to all today: What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36). Balaam is a warning to all who compromise the truth of the Word of God. He died like the idol-worshiping Medianites with whom he fellowshiped.

Mortify (treat as dead) . . . your members (physical nature) . . . adultery, uncleanness, inordinate (uncontrolled) affection (passion), evil concupiscence (unholy desire), and covetousness (greed), which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience (Colossians 3:5-6).

A Thought from Psalms: Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law (119:18).

Christ Revealed:

Through the purification of booty by fire (Numbers 31:21-23). All things await the judgment of Christ as to what has eternal value. For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son (John 5:22).

Word Studies:

30:5 disallow = refuses to allow; 31:29 for a heave offering = it was waved as a gesture of willingness in presenting it as a sacrifice to the Lord; 31:38 beeves = cattle; 31:39 tribute = an assessment; taxes; 31:50 oblation = the Lord's offering; tablets = necklaces or gold beads.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Pastor · Country: St. Vincent and The Grenadines (120,000) in the Lesser Antilles of the eastern Caribbean · Major languages: English and French patois · Religious freedom · 50% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 2% spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: Pray at all times (Psalms 55:17).

Optional Reading: Luke 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11