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Bible Pathways 2/26/2004

  • 2016 Jan 29

Read Numbers 30 -- 31

In Today's Reading:

Law concerning vows; Midianites conquered; division of booty; officers and captains bring an offering to the Lord

The Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his second wife Keturah, whom he married after Sarah died (Genesis 25:1-2). The Midianites had devastated Israel, not as enemies who had won a war, but as friendly idol worshipers who seduced the Israelites into committing spiritual adultery. The Israelites became involved in idolatry by attending their worship of the false god Baal-peor, followed by physical adultery with their women. This resulted in the death of 24,000 Israelites (Numbers 25:9). Some time later, God spoke to Moses, saying: Take vengeance on the Midianites for leading you into idolatry (see 31:2).

In this war, Moses sent . . . a thousand of every tribe . . . and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand (31:6) to execute the judgment of God upon the Midianites. The trumpets were symbols both of truth and of His direction. Not one Israelite died in that battle which resulted in the deaths of every Midianite male, all five kings of the confederation, and the women who caused Israel to sin (31:7-9,15-17). They slew the kings of Midian . . . Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword (31:8). It was not incidental that Balaam had chosen to live in luxury among the Midianites while enjoying the esteem of the king and the people.

Balaam was from Mesopotamia which included Ur of the Chaldees, where Abraham had lived before his call from God (Deuteronomy 23:4; see also Genesis 15:7; Acts 7:2). Balak had said to Balaam: Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel (Numbers 23:7). Like Balaam, how easy it is to say: I cannot go beyond the Word of the LORD my God, to do less or more (compare 22:18, see also 22:38; 23:26; 24:13). Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his (Jacob)! (23:10). But, like Balaam, greed and compromise have deceived many who will not die the death of the righteous. Their destiny is eternal hell, a place of outer darkness (where) there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. . . . everlasting fire. . . . everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:30,41,46). But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost (Spirit), Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life (Jude 1:20-21).

Word Studies:

31:29 for an heave offering = by a gesture of willingness, waving the sacrifice in presenting it to the Lord; 31:39 tribute = required assessment; taxes.

Christ Revealed:

As the Ruling One Who will righteously judge the wicked (Numbers 31:1-17). In righteousness He does judge (Rev. 19:11; II Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 1:14-15).

Pray For:

the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · Country: Qatar (724,000) in southwestern Asia · Major languages: Arabic and English · Muslim conversion to Christ is forbidden, but expatriate Christians are allowed to meet informally · 92% Muslim; 4% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic; 1% Hindu; .5% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Do not be fearful or live in dread of what might happen; trust the Lord to take care of you (Psalm 112:5,7).

Optional Reading: Luke 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11