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...
Worship Video: 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!
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A talking donkey, a mad false prophet who keeps sacrificing a lot of sheep and bulls ‘cause he’s trying to “get paid,” and revelations from God about His blessings and favor on Israel. This is a very fast moving read today.
The verse that speaks to me iis the 19th verse in chapter 23,
19 God is not a man, that he should lie.
He is not a human, that he should change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
God is telling us that He can be trusted, that His Word is His bond. He doesn’t have to be manipulated, He doesn’t care how many bull and sheep you burn up His Word doesn’t change.
How do you explain to people God has named your baby? You are foregoing tradition in naming your male child a name that no other mail in your family has had. The child’s father cannot speak and his mother is an old woman. But when the father in writing confirms the child’s name, the man who was mute for nine months now can suddenly speak. Ya know that God is up to something.
This speaks to me about getting out of “the box.” This speaks to me about looking past traditions, the traditions of men, the traditions of cultural and ethnic groups and finding the will of God outside of the box.
Imprecatory prayers written by David can be prayed when we think we are facing enemies. God can take any situation that seems to the observer, impossible and change it around making a way where there seem to be no way. David knew about this first hand because He escaped from his adversary, King Saul, many times.
These two verses immediately brought to my mind another passage in Proverbs 26 (Amp) I’m not sure why.
22 The words of a whisperer or slanderer are like dainty morsels or words of sport [to some, but to others are like deadly wounds]; and they go down into the innermost parts of the body [or of the victim's nature].
23 Burning lips [uttering insincere words of love] and a wicked heart are like an earthen vessel covered with the scum thrown off from molten silver [making it appear to be solid silver].
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | March 14, 2023 at 07:38 PM
Comment Question: IMO when we get to heaven, as adopted children of God (saved), we will be surprised at the number of inconveniences (talking donkeys) that occurred in our earthly lives. Those inconveniences saved us from greater inconveniences (bad things) that would have occurred if God had not intervened in such a way.
Balaam - nowhere in Hebrew text does it say he was a prophet. Why did Balak send to Mesopotamia for this man? Well, he must have had a reputation of some sort of talking to the gods or spirits. Makes him a seer. Not sure if Balaam was surprised when he talked to God of Israel (Yahweh), but the donkey incident indicates Balaam was going to do things his way. That is when the Angel of the Lord stepped in to scare him straight.
Talking donkey - Did God open donkey’s mouth and speak through the animal or let the animal talk but controlled the message? Not sure. The Creator of the universe would have had no trouble doing either option. Either way Balaam got the message - and in first two speeches only blessed the Israelites. (Note: Balaam must not have known God’s word to Abraham - ‘cursed are those that curse you’)
Interesting that Balak moved Balaam to another place to curse the Israelites - as Yahweh might not be able to influence Balaam in a different locale. Balak assumes Yahweh is a God of limited power - and how wrong he was back then and some of us today.
Posted by: mitch | March 15, 2023 at 05:21 PM