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Bible Pathways - Feb. 22, 2009


February 22

Numbers 21

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Failures as well as blessings and victories are in these verses. The refugees finally near their destination. And a donkey speaks to save a foolish prophet (22:28).

Once a person becomes discouraged, everything seems to be wrong. Consequently, Satan and his demons are instigators of discontentment. And they journeyed from Mount Hor by way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? (21:4-5). The words much discouraged mean much more than being depressed; they are an expression of impatience, grief, and opposition to the providential guidance of God. The Israelites' discouragement was an act of unbelief.

All of the desert over which the Israelites travelled for forty years after they left Egypt could be called dreary and difficult. The Israelites had been accustomed to wilderness life, but the district through which they were now passing was even more desolate than what they had previously endured. The roughness of the way was through rocky, rugged mountain passes. Added to that, the way of the Israelites was also aggravated by the cruel response of their brethren the Edomites, who refused to allow them to cross through their territory. Thus, they were forced to travel a much longer route. Their difficult circumstances led them even further from the promised land. Often, when the way seems futile, we too may be tempted to be discouraged because of the way and we find fault with others or even with God for keeping us from what we think is best. When we face sickness, cancer, death, and all the other circumstances of a cold, unsympathetic world, we need to follow the example of the Apostle Paul: Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience (II Tim. 3:10). And we know (for a fact) that all good things work together for good to them that love God (Rom. 8:28).

We also need to remember Habakkuk, the prophet of old, who said: Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation (Hab. 3:17-18).

Thought for Today:

The further we stray from the perfect will of God for our lives, the more despairing our circumstances can become. By reading His Word, we can know what His will is for our lives.

Christ Portrayed:

By Moses who was faithful to pray for God to save 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).

Word Studies:

21:2 utterly =completely; 21:4 compass =go around; 21:5 soul loatheth =people detest, intense dislike; 21:11 the sunrising =by the eastern border; 21:18 staves =staffs; 21:23 suffer =permit, allow; 21:35 smote =killed, destroyed; 22:1 pitched =camped; this side =the eastern side; 22:3 sore =very, utterly; 22:4 lick up =defeat in battle; 22:5 over against me =in front of me; 22:6 smite =defeat; wot =know; 22:7 rewards of divination =fees for cursing Israel; 22:27 staff =rod; 22:28 smitten =struck; 22:29 would =wish; 22:30 wont to do =failed to serve you; 22:36 utmost coast =farthest boundary.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Duane & Mary Ann Seaburg • Government Official: Sen. Edward Kennedy (MA) • Country: Brazil (168 million) in South America • Major languages: Portuguese and Spanish • Religious freedom • 67% Catholic; 21% Protestant; 4% spiritist; .7% Buddhist; .7% Muslim; .15% Indigenous; 2.4% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to lead you in all that you do (Matt. 6:13).

Optional Reading: Luke 9

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:10

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