February 26, 2006

Read Numbers 30

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. Israel had become involved in the worship of their pagan deity Baal-peor followed by physical adultery with their women. This had resulted in the death of 24,000 Israelites (Numbers 25:9). Some time later, God spoke to Moses saying: Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites (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 ungodly Midianites. And they slew the kings of Midian . . . Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword. Not one Israelite died in this battle but it resulted in the deaths of all five kings of the confederation and every Midianite male (31:7-9,15-17). 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; nor was it incidental that God's judgment also fell on him (Hebrews 9:27).

Balaam was from Mesopotamia, which included Ur of the Chaldees, where Abraham had lived before his call from God (Deuteronomy 23:4; also Genesis 15:7; Acts 7:2). Balak had said to Balaam: Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel (Numbers 23:7). How easy it is to simply say like Balaam: I cannot go beyond the Word of the LORD my God, to do less or more (compare 22:18, also 22:38; 23:26; 24:13) and Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his (Jacob's)! (23:10). But, like Balaam, greed and compromise have deceived many who did not die the death of the righteous. Their destiny is eternal hell. But ye, 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 unto 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 = portion assigned to the Lord; required assessment; taxes.

Christ Portrayed:

As the Lord who will righteously judge the wicked (Numbers 31:1-17). In righteousness He doth judge (Revelation 19:11; John 5:22; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 1:14-15).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · Country: Kyrgyzstan (5 million) eastern central Asia · Major languages: Kirghiz and Russian · Religious freedom · 60% Muslim; 11% Russian Orthodox; .8% Protestant/Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to make you willing to go wherever He wants to send you (Isaiah 6:8).

Optional Reading: Luke 12

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 13:10