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Bible Pathways - Feb. 23, 2008


February 23

Numbers 23

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Balaam prophesies blessings on Israel and yet thousands die. In today's chapters we learn why Phinehas is given the highest priestly honor recorded in the Old Testament.

All the sacrifices which Balak, the Moabite king, could offer and all the clever schemes of Balaam could not hinder the blessing God had earlier promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth (23:16). Balaam told Balak: I have received commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it (23:20).

Balaam not only could not hinder the blessings but God used this evil prophet to reveal his own awful fate as well as some of the most remarkable, prophetic revelations concerning the coming Savior. I shall see Him (Jesus Christ), but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh (24:17). He also foretold: There shall come a Star (Christ) out of Jacob, and a Sceptre (Ruler) shall rise out of Israel. . . . Out of Jacob shall come He who shall have dominion (24:17,19).

It seems incredible that nothing was as important to Balaam as the wealth that Balak was offering him so that he advised the Midianites to seduce the Israelites to join them in "worship of Baal-peor" (25:1-3; also Revelation 2:14). This led the Israelite men to commit fornication and adultery with the Midianite women. These sins resulted in a plague of death and those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand (Numbers 25:9). Balaam was still with them at the time God led Moses to go to war against the Midianites. . . . And they slew the kings of Midian . . . and Balaam also . . . they slew with the sword (31:5-9,15-17; compare Hebrews 9:27).

It is pathetic to read that the famous prophet Balaam, who had once confessed: I cannot go beyond the Word of the Lord my God (Numbers 22:18,38) and: All that the Lord speaketh, that I must do (23:26; 24:13), chose to sin against the people of God.

We are warned to beware of going astray in the way of Balaam (II Peter 2:15). The error of Balaam is revealed in Jude 1:11 and we are warned through the Apostle John of the doctrine of Balaam (Revelation 2:14). Jesus said: Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. . . . Many will say to me in that day . . . have we not prophesied in Thy Name? . . . and in Thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).

Thought for Today:

It is time to be encouraged and to stand strong for Jesus because no evil can stop God's promises.

Christ Revealed:

As the prophesied Star and Sceptre (Numbers 24:17). Christ is coming to reign in great glory (Rev. 19:15-16). Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom (Heb. 1:8).

Word Studies:

23:3 peradventure =perhaps; 23:10 dust =descendants; 24:14 advertise =let you know; 24:18 do valiantly =be triumphant; 25:1 commit whoredom =gave intercourse; 25:3 kindled against =became angry against; 25:7 javelin =spear; 25:13 seed =descendents, offspring; atonement =affected reconciliation; 25:17 vex =besiege; 25:18 wiles =treacherous deceit; beguiled =deceived.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Government Official: Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX) • Country: Czech Republic (10 million) in central Europe • Major languages: Czech and Slovak • Religious freedom • 63% Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray when distressed and afflicted (Jonah 2:2).

Optional Reading: Luke 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:2

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