Will we ever learn? (5)

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.” Numbers 23:19-20 NKJV

What an interesting character this Balaam is!!! With his powerful experience with the Lord (and a talking donkey and every time he opens his mouth to curse he bless). I hope he was converted away from sorcery and I hope we get to meet him someday in heaven. Because, wow.

He is not only an interesting character with an incredible experience with God and his grace – but through him the Lord speaks some of my favorite verses!!! Get us dig into the GRACE OF GOD and let it change us!

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

Numbers chapters 23 – 25 are our reading today (it is below for your convenience). During chapters 23 and 24 the sorcerer, Balaam is trying to curse the Israelites and God speaks through him and blesses them. During this exchange is a messianic prophecy, is an explanation of blessings and curses, and an example of grace that always blows my mind (especially when you read chapter 25 and see what the children of Israel were doing while God was on the mountain top fighting the sorcerer on their behalf, fighting a potential war on their behalf, blessing them, and pronouncing that Jesus Christ is coming through this people – therefore blessing all of mankind). That is a lot.

Let us start with blessings and curses –

“How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?” Numbers 23:8 NKJV

First of all the Bible is full of blessings that are promised to us – we usually refer to them as promises. We stand on these promises and pray on these promises! We claim we will grab onto the angel of the Lord and wrestle for our blessings. But God is NOT a man that He should lie. He said it. Believe it. Settle it.

There are witches and sorcerers trying to curse us, if we believe it or not. And GOD is up there with them fighting our battles for us. In exchange, God said we are blessed. Period. The end. And therefore no Balaam or witch or sorcerer or demon can curse us. Why?

“Blessed is he who blesses you, And cursed is he who curses you.” Numbers 24:9b NKJV

Because when they try to curse us, first they bless us then it falls back on them worse. In this story in Numbers it did not fall back on Balaam, because he was the middle man and God dealt with him through a talking donkey.  It falls on the king who hired him – whose kingdom will be destroyed by Balaam’s people and continue to be destroyed until Jesus comes and the whole world bows to worship Him for eternity.

God is not able to lie. Therefore, when God says the Bible is His inspired words, His revelation to man of Himself, and His plan of salvation – it is true. When He says sin has lead us all into destruction like a sinking ship and Jesus is the life preserver which can save you if you just accept it – it is true.  When He says having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the only way to have abundant life – it is true. When He says just trust Him and give yourself over to His will and His love and He will work ALL THINGS out for your good – it is true. God is NOT a man that He should lie! Believe it.

Those weapons formed against you may be formed, but will not prosper – like Balaam on the mountain top was unable to fulfill his goal of cursing Israel. If you are the righteous child of God – if they try to curse you it will come back on them worse.

Now – let us talk about grace and being the righteous chosen people.  Because God’s thought are NOT our thoughts and His vision is also not our vision!!!! While Balaam is on top of these three high places trying to curse Israel – the children of Israel were in the valley below complaining (remember form yesterday). There was a plague happening because of their sins, remember? And in chapter 25 we see a plague is still going on and they are committing adultery and worshiping idols. Will they ever learn?! BUT

BUT!!! GOD IS FULL OF GRACE!!! God says to Balaam…

“He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The Lord his God is with him, And the shout of a King is among them.” Number 23:21 NKJV

The King is King Jesus – some amazing messianic messages in this chapter that I cannot cover all of them. But I can try to explain more about God’s grace and our “righteousness”.

“and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;” Philippians 3:9 NKJV

Righteousness is not something we can achieve under the law – it is a gift under grace. And even though these Israelites (in the book of Numbers) were under the law – their righteousness which brings forth the messianic King is under grace. To really understand this – we must remember that God is outside of time and therefore our gift of righteousness can be as well.

So while we were still sinners, and while the Israelite still complained and sinned against God – HE counted our faith as righteousness and THEREFORE BLESSED US with blessings wherein NO MAN (or demon) can curse us!!! And yes that is the very same grace covered “While we were still sinners…”

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NKJV

Makes me just swell with worship for God’s glorious plan through grace – so we could have a relationship with Him!!!!

RELATIONSHIP:
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 23-25 NKJV

The Prophecies of Balaam

23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.”

And Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a desolate height. And God met Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.”

Then the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” So he returned to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, he and all the princes of Moab.

And he took up his [a]oracle and said:

“Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram,
From the mountains of the east.
‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
And come, denounce Israel!’

“How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him;
There! A people dwelling alone,
Not reckoning itself among the nations.

10 “Who can count the [b]dust of Jacob,
Or number one-fourth of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And let my end be like his!”

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!”

12 So he answered and said, “Must I not take heed to speak what the Lord has put in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Prophecy

13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only the outer part of them, and shall not see them all; curse them for me from there.” 14 So he brought him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 And he said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering while I [c]meet the Lord over there.”

16 Then the Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, “Go back to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 17 So he came to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab were with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?”

18 Then he took up his oracle and said:

“Rise up, Balak, and hear!
Listen to me, son of Zippor!

19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.

21 “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
Nor has He seen [d]wickedness in Israel.
The Lord his God is with him,
And the shout of a King is among them.
22 God brings them out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox.

23 “For there is no [e]sorcery against Jacob,
Nor any [f]divination against Israel.
It now must be said of Jacob
And of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’
24 Look, a people rises like a lioness,
And lifts itself up like a lion;
It shall not lie down until it devours the prey,
And drinks the blood of the slain.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!”

26 So Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the Lord speaks, that I must do’?”

Balaam’s Third Prophecy

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, that overlooks the [g]wasteland. 29 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on every altar.

Balaam Foretells the Happiness of Israel

24 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use [h]sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

Then he took up his oracle and said:

“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,
The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Who falls down, with eyes wide open:

“How lovely are your tents, O Jacob!
Your dwellings, O Israel!
Like valleys that stretch out,
Like gardens by the riverside,
Like aloes planted by the Lord,
Like cedars beside the waters.
He shall pour water from his buckets,
And his seed shall be in many waters.

“His king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.

“God brings him out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox;
He shall consume the nations, his enemies;
He shall break their bones
And pierce them with his arrows.
‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’

“Blessed is he who blesses you,
And cursed is he who curses you.”

10 Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times! 11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the Lord has kept you back from honor.”

12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak’? 14 And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”

Balaam’s Fourth Prophecy

15 So he took up his oracle and said:

“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened;
16 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
And has the knowledge of the Most High,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Who falls down, with eyes wide open:

17 “I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And [i]batter the brow of Moab,
And destroy all the sons of [j]tumult.

18 “And Edom shall be a possession;
Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,
While Israel does [k]valiantly.
19 Out of Jacob One [l]shall have dominion,
And destroy the remains of the city.”

20 Then he looked on Amalek, and he took up his oracle and said:

“Amalek was first among the nations,
But shall be last until he perishes.”

21 Then he looked on the Kenites, and he took up his oracle and said:

“Firm is your dwelling place,
And your nest is set in the rock;
22 Nevertheless Kain shall be burned.
How long until Asshur carries you away captive?”

23 Then he took up his oracle and said:

“Alas! Who shall live when God does this?
24 But ships shall come from the coasts of Cyprus,[m]
And they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Eber,
And so shall [n]Amalek, until he perishes.”

25 So Balaam rose and departed and returned to his place; Balak also went his way.

Israel’s Harlotry in Moab

25 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove,[o] and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and hang the offenders before the Lord, out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.”

So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Every one of you kill his men who were joined to Baal of Peor.”

And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel. And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.

10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made [p]atonement for the children of Israel.’ ”

14 Now the name of the Israelite who was killed, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father’s house among the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of Zur; he was head of the people of a father’s house in Midian.

16 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 17 “Harass the Midianites, and [q]attack them; 18 for they harassed you with their schemes[r] by which they seduced you in the matter of Peor and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister, who was killed in the day of the plague because of Peor.”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 23:7 prophetic discourse
  2. Numbers 23:10 Or dust cloud
  3. Numbers 23:15 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; Syr. call; LXX go and ask God
  4. Numbers 23:21 trouble
  5. Numbers 23:23 enchantment
  6. Numbers 23:23 fortune-telling
  7. Numbers 23:28 Heb. Jeshimon
  8. Numbers 24:1 enchantments
  9. Numbers 24:17 shatter the forehead
  10. Numbers 24:17 Heb. Sheth, Jer. 48:45
  11. Numbers 24:18 mightily
  12. Numbers 24:19 shall rule
  13. Numbers 24:24 Heb. Kittim
  14. Numbers 24:24 Lit. he or that one
  15. Numbers 25:1 Heb. Shittim
  16. Numbers 25:13 Lit. covering
  17. Numbers 25:17 be hostile toward
  18. Numbers 25:18 tricks

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