Below are my thoughts from the daily reading of the West Side Church of Christ in Lebanon, Ohio. Today’s reading comes from 23-25. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word.
We learn several lessons from our reading … first, when God is with you nothing our enemies can do will thwart Him, and secondly, for that God wants total devotion from us.
Balak wants desperately for Balaam to bless his people and curse the Israelites. Three times God reveals through Balaam that God is going to continue to be with Jacob and his people the Israelites while he will come against Moab the Israelites cousins from Abraham’s nephew Lot. This angers Balak, but Balaam reminds him that he can only speak the truth God provides. I know many of you reading are not part of West Side, but especially if you are, let me encourage you to pray that your ministers only speak the truth of God’s word. That when they preach or teach what they share and communicate is only the truth found in scripture. Let me assure you, I strive to only speak what Scripture can support. Please help keep me in check in that!
The story of Balak and Balaam is followed by an account where some of the men of Israel fall sexually into sin with Moabite women. What a contrast. God uses a man named Balaam to give Moab indication that God is going to be with Israel and not Moab. While that is going on, some of God’s people are falling into temptation, and in essence falling into false worship. God’s anger burns against the Israelites. God sends a plague on the people. In the midst of the plague an Israelite takes a Moabite woman into his tent. In righteous zeal for the Lord Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, takes a spear and drives it through both the man and the woman killing them both. God’s wrath was paid and “So the plague against the Israelites was stopped, but not before 24,000 people had died.” Numbers 25:8-9 NLT.
The Israelites had spent so much time immersed in Egypt and not focusing on God that in a lot of ways they do not truly know God. Their weak faith has been proven over and over. Their weak faith has caused them forty years in the wilderness. God wanted to give them the Promised Land, but they did not deserve it. Their children would inherit it. Their children would inherit it because they would grow up knowing God and having no other option but to trust God in their wandering. This is shown in Phinehas’ actions against a fellow Israelite. Friends … do your best to train your children to trust in the Lord because of the positive examples of faith you set in their lives not the negative like Israel did. Demonstrate what total devotion to the Lord looks like and receive his blessings in a powerful way!
At West Side we are beginning a new prayer partner campaign. We are asking people to join with us in praying daily for West Side. If you would like to join us please click here and subscribe to receive daily emails containing a short prayer request for West Side. We appreciate your partnership.