Numbers 21:1-22:20 + Luke 1:26-56 + Psalm 57:1-11 + Proverbs 11:9-11
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Old Testament - Today in Numbers chapter 22 we read about Balak sending for Balaam - hoping Balaam will curse the Israelites. Balak sends messengers the 1st time and Balaam gets a message from God to not go with these messengers, as God has blessed the Israelites. What is interesting to me are verses 15-17: "Then Balak tried again. This time he sent a larger number of even more distinguished officials than those he had sent the first time. They went to Balaam and gave him this message: "This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Please don't let anything stop you from coming. I will pay you well and do anything you ask of me. Just come and curse these people for me!" For some reason these verses really reminded me of temptation in our lives today. Like Balaam with the messengers on their first visit, we may realize something is not what God would want us to do - and we send the temptation away. But... then the temptation can come back! In a bigger way - with more distinguished officials than before... with more allure than before... the temptation that we resisted once so valiantly can come back. And then, the question becomes - with the opportunity to be "paid well" by the temptation, will we still resist the temptation? Can we resist the temptation a 2nd time? Through Jesus, our mediator before our Heavenly Father, yes, I know we can. If temptation has visited you once - or twice - or even many times - will you pray to God today in the name of Jesus that temptation will never overcome you?
Bible.org's commentary on Balaam and Numbers chapter 22 is at this link.
New Testament - In Luke chapter 1 verses 46 through 55 we read an amazing hymn known as Mary’s Song or the Magnificat, which means “glorifies” in the Latin Vulgate translation. This is indeed a song from the mother of Jesus that glorifies God in a beautiful way. As you read through this song, below, please meditate upon its words. And maybe ask yourself this – are there ways in your life that you “sing songs” like this to God? Maybe it’s not through literal song – but maybe you praise God through loving others, through serving others, through art, through prayer, through your church, and this list could go on… What is your unique way of glorifying God? Do you want to glorify God with all you do in your life? Please take a few moments to mediate upon the glorious words of Mary’s Song:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me–
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”
Bible.org's commentary on Luke chapter 1 titled "The Worship of Two Women" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 57 verse 8 is amazing - "Wake up, my soul!" What 4 great words. . . wake up my soul! Do you ever feel like you need to say this to your soul? I know that I have in my past. There have been times in my life where I have felt spiritually asleep. Just completely slumbering. . . and I have begged my soul to wake up! Fortunately, I finally learned that I could not wake up my soul on it's own. I needed the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to wake up my soul. . . and the Spirit keeps it awake today. If you feel that you need your soul to wake up, will you prayer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to indwell your soul and to wake it up?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 11 verse 11 today teaches us: "Upright citizens bless a city and make it prosper." This is a great reminder to each of us to be good citizens and to bless our cities!
Worship Video: Proverbs 11:11 today reminds me of fantastic Bluetree song "God of this City:"
Have you met the God of your city? Click here and meet Him!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart." Proverbs 11:11 NLT
Prayer Point: Pray for your city. Pray that you will be an upright citizen in your city. Pray against wicked talk. Pray that everyone in your city will come to know Jesus, and will enter the heavenly city of Jerusalem one day.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our Proverb verse above, are you striving to be an upright citizen blessing your city and helping to make it prosper? What are some ways that you are doing so? Do you see spiritual issues in your city today? How are you helping to right those spiritual wrongs in your city? Do you pray for your city regularly? Do you think you should? Will you join me in praying for our cities? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Love, Trust and Obey Jesus,
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Weariness causes one to loose hope. They failed to see that their journey was near the end and they gave up hope. They had forgotten that God had told them they would wonder until the older generation, the ones over twenty years old when they left Egypt, would die off before they entered their promise (Numbers 14) It is imperative that we remember the Words of God spoken long-ago or spoken within the hour.
However,there was a glimmer of hope after several people were bitten by snakes and died, they did recognize that they had sinned and because of that they were given a deliverance from the poison of the snakes, but they still got bit.
I find it interesting that God said to Moses about King Og, the king of the Amorites, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have given you victory over Og and his entire army, giving you all his land. You will do the same to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon." (Numbers 21:24). I am intrigued that God spoke about their victory before they fought, then they fought to get what God have given to them. How often do we pray for victory over our circumstances, God gives us the victory but we then go sit down on our “duffs” and do nothing? Are we lazy or do we expect God to fight for us while we do nothing to show that we believe what He said He will do?
I also love the story of the Talking Donkey and the rebellious false prophet, Balaam. It says to me that if God is for you, who can be against you? It shows the futility of fighting against God. You cannot bless something that God has cursed, or curse something that God has blessed. I remember finding out this little nugget of insight at the first church I joined. Sad to say I belonged to a church that had totally perverted the idea of claiming something that one didn’t have nor was the “will of God.” Like Bob Deffinbaugh’s commentary on the 22nd chapter of Numbers states, “2) Our challenge is not to “convert” God to be on our side, but to be converted, so that we may be on His side. Many people are just like Balaam in that they are seeking to get God to join them, to be on their side.”
I joined a “coven” of those seeking to remedy a situation without having the entire story. I was asked to join about five or six people for the restoration of a marriage. That sounded like a good idea so I wasted about one-hour praying for a marriage to be restored. But I didn’t know this one thing. The person had been divorced for some time and the husband in question had remarried and had three children within that marriage! That was my first realization that folks try to manipulate God to get what they want instead of manipulating themselves to confirm to what God wanted. Maybe there should have never been a divorce in the first place, but after knowing this woman for several years after I come to the realization that she was indeed a very manipulative person. I don’t know if I can back this up in the bible but I feel that manipulation is witchcraft. Minus the black hat and cauldron, manipulation is the attempt to control someone else’s will even God’s. I’m not saying that’s Bible but why else do people engage palm readers, buy “roots” to place on people, etc? They are attempted to manipulate and control others or circumstances, they are attempting to be gods.
There are a lot of Balaam’s running around and they can even be found in the church!
What I find fascinating about Mary’s story is that she utterly accepts what God has given her to do without question. Do I do that? No! Here we have a young girl, who many scholars believe she may have been between 13 or 15 years of age accepting an assignment that would put her life in jeopardy and I’m not talking about the “risks” involved in childbirth. Since Mary was a single young girl, although betrothed to Joseph, she was supposed to be a virgin, which she was, but how many people would believe that? Now you know the tongues wagged about her circumstances, even Joseph considered putting her away discreetly to “save face.” (Matthew 1:18-21) Jesus has a conversation with the religious leaders recorded in the 8th chapter of John that if you read between the lines, show they thought Jesus was illegitimate.
Sex outside of marriage, in those days, could get you stoned. Though they did have this thing of ignoring one-half of the command of stoning the parties involved. (Also in the 8th chapter of John).
May I be able to say, “Be it unto me according to Your Word.”
What I love about this Psalm of David is that David has given his entire experience of running from Saul to the choir director to either sing or have sung before the entire congregation; something he also did after he was confronted by Nathan the prophet for committing Adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed (Psalm 51).
In this Psalm David lays his emotions, fears and His Praise of God before the world to see. He doesn’t pretend that he has it all together, which, I believe, will only delay or stop completely your deliverance.
11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
We have to learn to be “Real” with God and stop pretending that God doesn’t know our stuff.
Three verses that compare the way and consequences of the godly to what happens to the wicked, the godless, we live in a cause and effect world and we create effects based on our choices. We choose actions based on what we believe or don’t believe about our God (our gods), which controls the way we think and how we interact with the world.
We do wrong because we believe wrong, and we believe wrong because we think wrong!
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | March 14, 2023 at 01:23 AM
OT - brass serpent on pole a picture of Christ (Jesus mentioned in John 3). If you look to the bronze serpent on pole, you will live. If you look to Jesus on cross (repent, confess and believe), you will have eternal life.
Balaam compared to Moses - interesting thought.
NT - Zechariah questioned Angel and was punished; Mary questioned and no punishment. IMO Zechariah doubted God’s message. Mary did not doubt message, but wanted to know how a it was possible biologically (virgin birth).
Posted by: mitch | March 14, 2023 at 08:17 PM