Numbers 22:21-23:30 ~ Luke 1:57-80 ~ Psalm 58:1-11 ~ Proverbs 11:12-13
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Old Testament - Today in Numbers chapter 22 we read about Balaam’s talking donkey! Yes, this is a very unique portion of scripture, and, yes, one we can learn from. In verses 27 & 28 we read: “When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" There is a lot going on in the verses leading up to this point, and in the verses thereafter – which you can study more at this link . I think one thing for us to pay attention to here is how we are sometimes saved from a bad situation by what at first glance appears to be an “inconvenience.” A donkey laying down and starting to talk is inconvenient to Balaam. But, this talking donkey saved Balaam from an angel with a sword in hand that Balaam could not see. Are there perhaps “inconveniences” in your life today that are maybe saving you from a bad situation? Or, do you recognize inconveniences in the past that saved you from a bad situation? I know I have. If my car breaks down or I get sick or I miss a flight – all inconveniences – I try to remind myself that it might just be possible that this inconvenience was meant to be. It may have saved me from something much worse happening. The inconvenience – the “talking donkey” – may have actually saved me from something I could not see. Keep your eyes open for inconvenient “talking donkeys” in your life :) – and praise God for them when they appear! Here's Rembrandt's take on Balaam's talking donkey from the year 1626:
Bible.org commentary on Balaam in chapters 22 & 23 is at this link.
New Testament - I love Zechariah's prophecy in today's readings in Luke chapter 1! In particular verses 76-79 when speaking about his son John the Baptist: "And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God's tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace."" Amen! Below is Leonardo Da Vinci's portrait of John the Baptist from the year 1516:
Bible.org's commentary on our readings in Luke today titled "Why John Was Not Named 'Little Zach'" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 58 verse 11 stood out to me today - ""There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth."" I think this is wise for us to remember that God indeed judges. We don't. We shouldn't. But God indeed judges justly. This verse also brings up the question - are we living for God? If so, what will our reward be? Are you looking forward to the reward?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 11 verses 12 & 13 today talk about how foolish it is to belittle a neighbor or gossip about others. I have to admit - these verses are convicting to me today - as I've been doing this recently. It makes me sad to realize that I have, but I have. I pray that instead of me thinking I am so righteous that I can talk behind someone's back that I will instead remain silent. I pray for silence upon my tongue when it comes to gossip or belittling others...
YouTube - Today's Psalm reminds me of the Matthew West song "Only Grace:"
Have you experienced God's grace? Click here for Grace!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" Numbers 23:19 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will trust God completely. Pray that you will see God's promises made and promises kept in the Bible this year, and in your life.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on my reflections in Numbers today, have you ever had any "talking donkey" experiences in your life? An experience that at first glance was a huge inconvenience to you, but in retrospect was an incredible blessing from God? Basically, have you ever had a blessing in disguise? Do you think God still can use "talking donkey" experiences in our lives today to get our attention? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!