Sunday, June 29, 2014

Numbers 22

Today's reading in our daily plan is Numbers 22. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • What a strange story! So the country of Moab becomes afraid of the Israelites due to their recent victories in battle. Moab sends a message to Balaam, who seems to be some kind of sorcerer or witch doctor type. Whether he truly had power, or was a sham artist, we don't know.
  • Balaam prays, and God speaks to him and tells him not to help the Moabites. They ask again, and Balaam says no again, but then (verse 19) tells them to stay the night so he can ask God again. This time God says he can go. Why? We don't know, but perhaps he realizes, because Balaam asks again when he already has an answer, that Balaam will not take no for an answer, so God sends him, maybe to teach him a lesson.
  • In the next scene … a donkey talks! Crazy! And, just to be clear, the Bible is not filled with talking animals. You don't have to believe in talking animals to believe in the Bible. There is only one talking animal in the Bible, and this is it. The deal is that if there is a God, then that God could do anything, including making a donkey talk. And that is what God chooses to do here (making an exception to what is normal) because he wants to make a point with Balaam and feels this is the best way to do it.
  • Through the interaction with his donkey, Balaam realizes that he is wrong and offers to go back. But he is told to continue, but that he can only say what God tells him to.
  • This story will continue in Numbers 23...

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The problem with Balaam is that God had definitively spoken, but Balaam went back to ask again. And then, on the road, Balaam is completely oblivious to how God is trying to direct him. In a similar way, God has spoken to us. He has given us all kinds of direction in the Bible. He can also let us know what He wants us to do in other ways. The question is: Are we listening? Do we obey the first time? Or do we waffle and put off obedience? Or maybe we completely ignore what God wants us to do in our lives?
  • Everything God tells us to do comes from His heart of love for us. If we don't follow His plan for life, we will struggle because of it.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What is something God has told you to do that you are not doing?
    • Never going to sleep angry?
    • Loving your neighbor as you love yourself?
    • Giving back to God at least ten percent of your income?
    • Being content with what you have?
    • Not lusting after a person you're not married to?
    • Seeking joy in God?
    • Feeding yourself regularly on God's Word?
    • Forgiving people who have wronged you?
  • What will help you to start obeying God so you can live the better life He has for you?