“…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12 ESV
Today, I am deep in thought with a hard truth about myself: I don’t naturally love truth. Truth shows me all my shortcomings and failures then the voice of condemnation tries to hold me down and I have to fight my way out by first asking God to forgive my failures and accept being cleaned. Then I start repeating Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”! Hard truth is we all lean toward sin and away from truth.
We are all one moment of weakness away from falling prey to not loving truth.
Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Yes – we are still reading through Numbers and today’s reading is a little long. The story of Balaam begins today – But I think we might discuss it tomorrow as it is continued in tomorrow’s reading.
Numbers chapter 21 – begins with a military victory over the Canaanites, where the Israelites utterly defeated them. And in my diligence for truth, thought I should quickly talk about utterly defeating, because according to what modern language defines ‘utterly defeating’ as, we would think they were completely destroyed. However, in the Book of Joshua they had to completely destroy the Canaanites again. And much later Babylon captures Jerusalem and carries Daniel and others off into captivity – after Assyria came through and defeated them. Both Assyria and Babylon were built by Canaanites.
So if the Canaanites were actually completely destroyed, then much of the conflict in the Bible, in history and even now, would not exist.
Let us pull out the Lexicon –
‘We will completely destroy’ is וְהַֽחֲרַמְתִּ֖י (wə·ha·ḥă·ram·tî). And according to Strong’s Hebrew 2763 it means: “to seclude, to devote to religious uses, to be blunt as to the nose”. Yeah, not what I thought either. Now let us look further.
‘Their cities’ is עָרֵיהֶֽם׃ (‘ā·rê·hem). And according to Strong’s Hebrew 5892 it means “excitement”.
So there you have it. I am not completely sure what that means and I have not yet found a good rabbi teaching on this terminology (or any teacher for that matter) which can further explain why it was then translated into complete destruction. But it may explain how some lived to continue to be a problem for the Israelites.
That side note, aside – let’s go back to the big picture of chapter 21 and 22. God helps them with a military win, then they forget it and forget all the good things the Lord has done and AGAIN they complain and wish they died as slaves in Egypt. How many times have they so easily forgotten all that the Lord did? This is the point of our devotional today – they easily forgot the truth. They loved not the truth. It is a pandemic from the beginning of time. Humans have the propensity to wander away from truth.
In today’s perilous times, “truth” isn’t just remembering that the Lord is good and not believing the lie that we would have been better off left in bondage (although that old trick of the devil is still in his playbook). Today, it is more critical to say what you mean and mean what you say – because things are not what they are called. We have a proposed “Equality Act” which negates ALL women’s rights in the USA. That is not equal at all. We have “Fake News” which is real and proven and other people’s version of truth which is just agenda and posturing. We have censorship being called good when never in history was it good. We have war being called peace and violent riots being called peaceful protest. We are being told to wear a mask and that science supports it – yet hundreds of years of infection control science had said (until a year ago) that masks would and did not work; and current science shows that two people (one in a mask and one not) exposed to a person with the coronavirus have the same statistical chance of catching it.
How do we “love truth” when it is difficult to figure out what truth is actually truth? God sent snakes in this passage of Numbers so that the Israelites could figure it out and repent. God spared them again. And then they even had a military victory that permitted them to take over a city and have a ‘normal” life for a moment.
What about us? 2 Thessalonians 2:12 gives us a clue – since THANKFULLY God is not going to send snakes again! The ones who believe the truth are those who did NOT have pleasure in unrighteousness.
As always – it is more simple than we make it. Just love God and seek Him. When you seek God with your all – you will not have time or substance left to enjoy the pleasures of sin and the lusts of this world. In His presence He will teach discernment. Spend time in His presence and when you do, anything that doesn’t line up with that and the word of God is not truth!
Heavenly Father, help us seek you first and seek truth. Please do not give us a strong delusion. Lord wake up those who are asleep under the delusion – Please open the eyes of those under the delusion and remove it from them. Help us Lord – before it is too late for us. Please Lord extend more grace so that fewer shall perish and more may have eternal life with you! Give us wisdom and help us to open the eyes of those who are lost to the delusion. In the name of Jesus we pray ~ amen
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
MEMORY WORK: 2 Peter 1:3
NKJV – “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”
NAS – “for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
ESV – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
NLT – “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
NIV – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
BIBLE READING: Numbers 21-22 NKJV
Canaanites Defeated at Hormah
21 The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim. Then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners. 2 So Israel made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3 And the Lord listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called [a]Hormah.
The Bronze Serpent
4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very [b]discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul [c]loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
From Mount Hor to Moab
10 Now the children of Israel moved on and camped in Oboth. 11 And they journeyed from Oboth and camped at [d]Ije Abarim, in the wilderness which is east of Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved and camped in the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they moved and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord:
[e]“Waheb in Suphah,
The brooks of the Arnon,
15 And the slope of the brooks
That reaches to the dwelling of Ar,
And lies on the border of Moab.”
16 From there they went to Beer, which is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well!
All of you sing to it—
18 The well the leaders sank,
Dug by the nation’s nobles,
By the lawgiver, with their staves.”
And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth, in the valley that is in the [f]country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah which looks down on the [g]wasteland.
King Sihon Defeated
21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into fields or vineyards; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23 But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together and [h]went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 Then Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the people of Ammon; for the border of the people of Ammon was fortified. 25 So Israel took all these cities, and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and had taken all his land from his hand as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore those who speak in [i]proverbs say:
“Come to Heshbon, let it be built;
Let the city of Sihon be repaired.
28 “For fire went out from Heshbon,
A flame from the city of Sihon;
It consumed Ar of Moab,
The lords of the heights of the Arnon.
29 Woe to you, Moab!
You have perished, O people of Chemosh!
He has given his sons as fugitives,
And his daughters into captivity,
To Sihon king of the Amorites.
30 “But we have shot at them;
Heshbon has perished as far as Dibon.
Then we laid waste as far as Nophah,
Which reaches to Medeba.”
31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 32 Then Moses sent to [j]spy out Jazer; and they took its villages and drove out the Amorites who were there.
King Og Defeated
33 And they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. So Og king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have [k]delivered him into your hand, with all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.” 35 So they defeated him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left him; and they took possession of his land.
Balak Sends for Balaam
22 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.
2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will [l]lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near [m]the River in the land of [n]the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! 6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. 8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.
9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”
10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’ ”
12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”
14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more [o]honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”
18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”
20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.
Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel
22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. 24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again. 26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have [p]abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”
30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever [q]disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. 32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out [r]to stand against you, because your way is perverse[s] before Me. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”
34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it [t]displeases You, I will turn back.”
35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory. 37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”
38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.” 39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth. 40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.
Balaam’s First Prophecy
41 So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe [u]the extent of the people.
- Numbers 21:3 Lit. Utter Destruction
- Numbers 21:4 impatient
- Numbers 21:5 detests
- Numbers 21:11 Lit. The Heaps of Abarim
- Numbers 21:14 Ancient unknown places; Vg. What He did in the Red Sea
- Numbers 21:20 Lit. field
- Numbers 21:20 Heb. Jeshimon
- Numbers 21:23 attacked
- Numbers 21:27 parables
- Numbers 21:32 secretly search
- Numbers 21:34 given you victory over him
- Numbers 22:4 consume
- Numbers 22:5 The Euphrates
- Numbers 22:5 Or the people of Amau
- Numbers 22:15 distinguished
- Numbers 22:29 mocked
- Numbers 22:30 accustomed
- Numbers 22:32 as an adversary
- Numbers 22:32 contrary
- Numbers 22:34 Lit. is evil in your eyes
- Numbers 22:41 the farthest extent