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Bible Pathways - Feb. 23, 2009


February 23

Numbers 23

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Balaam prophesies blessings on Israel and yet thousands die. We learn why Phinehas is given the highest priestly honor recorded in the Old Testament.

After Israel's great victories, first over the Amorite King Sihon and then over King Og of Bashan, Balak, king of the Moabites, feared that he too would be defeated. Several times King Balak offered the prophet Balaam huge rewards if he would curse the Israelites. And the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth. . . . God is not a man, that He should lie. . . . Behold, I have received a Commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a (victorious) king is among them (23:6,19-21).

Balaam desired to live and die as a child of God and as a righteous man and openly confirmed it by saying: Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his (Jacob's) (23:10). Furthermore, he foretold the most amazing prophetic revelations from God thus far in the Bible concerning the coming of the Messiah (24:17). But Balaam's covetous desire for wealth soon caused him to compromise what he knew was God's will and provided a scheme that would lead Israel into sin. This would assure him of gaining his wealth from the Moabite king.

Balaam was one of the many people who know the right Scriptures and long to die the death of the righteous but who are unwilling to live the life of the righteous. Our natural tendency is to be drawn away from God. Even among Christians, the main topics of conversation are often centered around the things of the world. To test the true purpose of our interests, we need only to ask whether our desires lead us to God or away from Him

The Bible warns us of the dangers of worldly temptations and associations, chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled. . . . Having eyes full of adultery (evil desires), and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which (for many) have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam . . . who loved the wages of unrighteousness (II Pet. 2:10,14-15; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14).

Thought for Today:

It is time to be encouraged and to stand strong for Jesus because we must not allow evil to stand in the way of the promises of God.

Christ Revealed:

As the prophesied Star and Sceptre (Num. 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 =have intercourse; 25:3 kindled against =became angry against; 25:7 javelin =spear; 25:13 made an atonement =affected reconciliation; 25:17 vex =besiege; 25:18 wiles =treacherous deceit; beguiled =deceived.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts for the week in memory of Mr. & Mrs. C.O. Hicks • Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Government Official: Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX) • Country: Brunei (400,000) on the northern coast of Borneo • Major languages: Malay and English • Limited religious freedom • 66% Muslim; 19% Chinese religions; 6% animist; 4% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to forgive you of all ill will, grudges, or hatred you may hold in your heart toward another person (Matt. 6:14-15).

Optional Reading: Luke 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:10

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