Daily reading

Today’s reading is: Num. 22-24


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Numbers Chapter Twenty-Two

  1. Israel consolidated its position in the Transjordan, and readied to cross into Canaan (Num. 22:1).
  2. Balak the King of Moab observed the object lessons of Sihon & Og, and experienced the Lord’s intended dread (Num. 22:2,3).
  3. Balak understood that conventional warfare could not defeat Israel, and devised a plan for the employment of supernatural forces (Num. 22:4-7).
    1. He forms an alliance with the Midianites (Num. 22:4).
    2. He hires a prophet who (evidently) specialized in blessings and cursings (Num. 22:6).
    3. Balaam the son of Beor, at Pethor (Num. 22:5).
      1. Balaam.  בִּלְעָם bil‘ām #1109: not of the people (bal + ‘ām), or, destruction of the people (bāla‘ + ‘ām).
      2. Beor.  בְּעֹור be‘owr #1160: burning.
      3. Pethor.  פְּתֹור pethowr #6604: foreign orig. soothsayer.
      4. The Diviner (Josh. 13:22).  קָסַם qācam #7080: to practice divination.  See קֶסֶם qecem #7081 below.
    4. A joint delegation of Moabite and Midianite elders travel to Pethor with appropriate fees for divination.
      1. קֶסֶם qecem #7081: divination, witchcraft.
      2. קֶסֶם qecem #7081 is parallel to נָחַשׁ nachash #5172: practice divination, observe signs, practice fortune telling (Num. 23:23; 2nd Kgs. 17:17).
      3. Perhaps the best description of קֶסֶם qesem #7081 is found in the activity Jeremiah addressed (Jer. 14:14).
    5. The New Testament gives us God’s viewpoint on Balaam.
      1. He loved the wages of unrighteousness (2nd Pet. 2:15).
      2. His activity was neither a “way” like Cain’s, nor a “rebellion” like Korah’s.  Balaam’s activity was an “error” (Jude 11).
        1. This error is initiated when believers make decisions on the basis of monetary considerations.  “for pay”
        2. This error is a slippery slope that gathers momentum as it rolls downhill.  “rushed headlong”
      3. The teaching of Balaam is a continued threat to Church Age saints in the local church (Rev. 2:14).
  4. Balaam’s discourse with God (Num. 22:8-14).
    1. Balaam instructed the delegation to wait, while he inquires of YHWH (Num. 22:8).
    2. Balaam is accustomed to conversation with God (Num. 22:9-12).
    3. Balaam is obedient to the instructions of the Lord (Num. 22:13).
  5. Balaam’s discourse with the delegation, and their report to Balak (Num. 22:13,14).
    1. Balaam told the delegation that YHWH refused to let him go (Num. 22:13).
    2. The delegation told Balak that Balaam refused to come (Num. 22:14).
    3. מָאַן mā’an #3985,3986,3987: to refuse, be unwilling.  Used almost always of human obstinacy—esp. Pharaoh.  This is the only occurrence of the term with God as the subject.
  6. Balak’s second delegation is sent to Balaam with a blank check for Balaam’s services (Num. 22:15-20).
    1. Balak assures Balaam that money is no obstacle (Num. 22:15,17).
    2. Balak urges Balaam to let nothing be an obstacle (Num. 22:16).
    3. Balaam declares (laments?) that he is powerless against the Sovereignty of God (Num. 22:18).
    4. Balaam instructs the delegation to wait, as he inquires of the Lord one more time (Num. 22:19).
  7. Balaam’s second discourse with God (Num. 22:20-22).
    1. God instructs Balaam to go with the delegation (Num. 22:20,21).
    2. God becomes angry that Balaam is doing so (Num. 22:22a).
    3. Balaam failed the “stand in the breach” test that Moses passed (Ex. 32:9,10; Num. 14:11,12; Ps. 106:23; Ezek. 22:30).
      1. Abraham’s “stand in the breach” test was to obey the command of the Lord that appeared to contradict His will (Gen. 22:1-12).  Abraham acted on the basis of faith (Heb. 11:17-19).
      2. Moses’ “stand in the breach” test was to defy the command of the Lord, through intercessory prayer, calling upon the Lord to be faithful to His own declared promises (Ex. 32:11-13; Num. 14:13-19).
      3. Balaam’s “stand in the breach” test was a failure on his part.
        1. Balaam failed to defy the command of the Lord, in the manner of Moses.
        2. Balaam failed to obey the command of the Lord, in the manner of Abraham.  Whereas Abraham was obedient as an expression of faith, Balaam was obedient as an expression of greed.
    4. Balaam typifies the asking “with wrong motives” believer, who operates in accordance with his own lusts, and maintains a friendship with the kosmos world system (Jas. 4:3,4).
  8. The Adversary goes forth to destroy Balaam (Num. 22:22b).
    1. The Angel of the Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnation Christophany.
      1. He freely accepts worship (Jdg. 6:12ff.).
      2. Elect angels never accept worship (Rev. 19:10; 22:9).
    2. The Lord positions Himself as an adversary against Balaam.   שָׂטָן sātān #7854: adversary, Satan.
    3. The Lord permitted the donkey to have greater spiritual vision than the erring prophet (Num. 22:23,25,27).
    4. Balaam is functioning according to greed (Lk. 12:15-21; Rom. 1:29; 2nd Pet. 2:1-3,14-16), and does not see the Lord in his path (Prov. 11:6).
    5. The Lord permitted the donkey to have a greater spiritual message than the erring & mad prophet (Num. 22:28-30; 2nd Pet. 2:16).
    6. The Lord opened Balaam’s eyes to see the pending Sin Unto Death (Num. 22:31-33).
    7. Balaam’s immediate and total repentance resulted in the postponement of the Lord’s judgment (Num. 22:34,35).
  9. Balak’s face-to-face meeting with Balaam (Num. 22:36-41).
    1. Balak meets Balaam at the border of his land (royal welcome) (Num. 22:36).
    2. Balak reassures Balaam of the wealthy contract (Num. 22:37).
    3. Balaam declares his presence, and his eagerness, but also his limitations to declare what only God gives to him (Num. 22:38).
    4. Balak offered animal sacrifices (to Baal?) and gave Balaam the portions of honor (Num. 22:39,40).
    5. From the high places of Baal, the first glimpse of God’s chosen people occurs (Num. 22:41).

Numbers Chapter Twenty-Three

  1. Balaam gives the leadership to Balak’s religious ritual (Num. 23:1).
    1. Seven altars, sacrificing seven bulls and seven rams (Num. 23:1,2).
    2. Possibly an appropriate Gentile sacrifice, administered by Gentile prophets or priests (Num. 23:4; Job 42:8).
  2. The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth(Num. 23:4,5), and ministers through the Gentile prophet like He did through Moses (Ex. 4:12), Isaiah (Isa. 50:4), Jeremiah (Jer. 1:9), and Jesus Christ (Deut. 18:18; Jn. 17:8).
    1. This message was the first of four prophetic blessings which the Lord gave to Balaam (Num. 23:7-10,18-24; 24:3-9,15-24).
    2. These messages are prophetic poetry מָשָׁל māshāl #4912: proverb, parable, poem (Num. 23:7,18; 24:3).
    3. Message #1 reviews Balak’s desire is to curse Israel, but the Lord’s intention to bless Israel (Num. 23:7-10).
  3. Balak orders Balaam to give it another try, from a different mountain, without such a clear view of Israel (Num. 23:11-17).
    1. Another 7 altars, 7 bulls, & 7 rams (Num. 23:14).
    2. The Lord again provides the word in Balaam’s mouth (Num. 23:16).
    3. Message #2 declares that God’s redemption of Israel out of Egypt cannot be thwarted by omens and divination (Num. 23:18-24).
  4. Balak gives Balaam one more attempt, from an even further mountain (Num. 23:25-30).

Numbers Chapter Twenty-Four

  1. Balaam understood the will of God, and did not inquire of the Lord (Num. 24:1).
  2. Balaam surrendered to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and uttered his third message (Num. 24:2).
    1. This message is a מָשָׁל māshāl #4912, and also a נְאֻם ne’um #5002: oracle, burden.
    2. Balaam is described as one who is overcome with the glory of Divine revelation (Num. 24:3,4; cf. vv.15,16).
      1. The man whose eye (sing.) is opened—spiritual insight into the revealed plan of God.
        1. Previously, Balaam’s eyes (pl.) had been opened (Num. 22:31).
        2. Other spiritually opened eyes include Adam & Eve (Gen. 3:5,7), Hagar (Gen. 21:19), Jacob (Gen. 31:10,12).
        3. The spiritually opened eye (sing.) addresses Balaam’s entire vision (Deut. 34:7).
      2. Him who hears the words of God (אֵל ’ēl #410), who sees the vision of the Almighty (שַׁדַּי shadday #7706).
      3. Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered—receiving the spiritual revelation through ecstatic experience (Gen. 15:12-15; Acts 10:10; 22:17).
    3. Message #3 highlights the blessings of Israel living securely in the land of promise (Num. 24:5-9).
  3. Balak is furious with Balaam, and fires him (Num. 24:10-14).
  4. Balaam then delivers Message #4 (Num. 24:15-24).
    1. This message is also an oracle (burden) (Num. 24:15,16).
    2. This message comes from the man whose eye is opened, who hears the words of God (אֵל ’ēl #410), and knows the knowledge of the Most High (עֶלְיׄון ‘elyown #5945), and who sees the vision of the Almighty (שַׁדַּי shadday #7706).
    3. Message #4 is an awesome vision concerning the Second Advent of Jesus Christ (Num. 24:17-19), including the Tribulational warfare that precedes it (Num. 24:20-24).
  5. Balaam returned to his own home (Num. 24:25).
    1. Yet, he is back in Midian when Israel wages war against them (Num. 31:8).
    2. He was the primary instructor in the Midianite & Moabite seduction of Israel (Rev. 2:14).
    3. He did so “for pay” with a love of unrighteous wages greater than his fear of the Lord (2nd Pet. 2:15; Jude 11).