Numbers 24:1-25:18 ~ Luke 2:1-35 ~ Psalm 59:1-17 ~ Proverbs 11:14
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Old Testament - Today in Numbers chapter 24 we read about Balaam’s prophecies! Verse 17 is thought to be prophetic of Jesus: "I see him, but not in the present time. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the foreheads of Moab's people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth." Tyndale's commentary today suggests that the star rising from Jacob may be the prophecy that convinced the wise men to travel to Israel in search of the newborn Jesus. Here's an image of Balaam prophesying over Israel's camp: (and of course Balak looking horrified over this blessing that Balaam is giving)
And just when it looks like Balaam was turning out to be maybe not so bad in chapter 24... we get to chapter 25... In chapter 25 we read about Israel's sin in worshiping Baal and their sexual immorality. What we don't find out until Numbers chapter 31 verse 16 is that Balaam was the principal instigator of the idea of leading Israel toward this sexual sin & idolatry: "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people." Revelation chapter 2 verse 14 also refers to Balaam's hand in the incidents that took place: "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality." Reading about these incidents in chapter 25 today - do you think people today still live in this tension of serving God versus being seduced by idols? What saves us from this tension?
Bob Deffinbaugh's take on Chapter 25 and Balaam's behind the scenes work is at Bible.org at this link and leads off with, "Balaam’s Advice: “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!”" is at this link.
New Testament - Okay, any fans out there of Charlie Brown's Christmas Special recognize anything here from Luke chapter 2?? :) Yes, indeed, Linus' speech to Charlie Brown about the meaning of Christmas comes straight from the KJV of this chapter, Luke 2:8-14.
One thing that seems to be standing out to me quite a bit in reading Luke this year is how much Luke writes about Mary. I like how Luke gives us a little bit more of a glimpse of the mother of Jesus in his Gospel. We saw this obviously in our readings 2 days ago about the Magnificat. And then today we read about Mary listening to the shepherds' words in verse 19: "Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often." And then in verses 34 & 35 today we read: "Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, "This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others. Thus, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul."" This last sentence of Simeon's seems to be the first glimpse of Jesus' suffering and death that will come later in his life.... Here's a nice image of Simeon holding Jesus:
Psalms - Psalm 59 has some powerful imagery of the "night of danger" in verse 14 and the "morning of deliverance" in verse 16 - "But as for me, I will sing about your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of your unfailing love." I like that thought - shouting for joy each morning because of God's unfailing love. I pray that in some way I "shout" for joy each morning because of God's love. How about you? Do you in some way "shout" for joy each morning because of God?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 11 verse 14 teaches us today: "Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers." This is a great teaching that it is wise to seek the counsel of others! Whether it is a nation or in our own lives, this is wise advice. We can't figure it all out on our own. We need many others in our lives to help counsel us along The Way. We certainly need the Bible to help counsel us along The Way...
YouTube: Based on my reference above to Linus telling Charlie Brown about the true meaning of Christmas in Luke Chapter 2, here's the clip:
Do you know the true meaning of Christmas? Click here for your Christmas today!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will treasure all of the Words of Scripture that you are reading this year and that you will often ponder the Word in your heart.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our Proverb today, do you have advisers in your life today? Are there times that you try to figure things out just on your own rather than consulting advisers? Which way works better? Has the counsel of advisers in your life ever changed how you might have approached a situation on your own? If you don't have advisers in your life, do you think you should? Where do you think you can find wise advisers these days? In church? In a small group? In a Bible study? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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