Saturday, July 5, 2014

Numbers 23

Today's reading in our daily plan is Numbers 23. 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?)
  • If you missed the first part of this story, read Numbers 22 and the post we did about it.
  • Balaam consults with God and receives a message to give to Balak.
  • The message is called an "oracle," translated from the Hebrew word "marshal." This word reveals the unusual thing that is happening in this story. Throughout the Old Testament God gives messages to His prophets to share, but none are called an "oracle." Balaam is not a prophet of God. God is speaking to him and is using Balaam in this situation, but we don't get the idea that this is typical, or even that Balaam is truly a faithful believer in God.
  • Balaam tells Balak that God will not allow him to curse the Israelites. Balak is upset and demands that Balaam repeatedly go back to God and ask again for permission to curse the Israelites.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Balaam tells Balak that God does not lie or "change his mind" (verse 19). Isn't that good to know? The God we're asked to put our trust in is a perfect God who is totally trustworthy!
  • While God's character and what God says does not change, the way God does things does change. God often does what we wouldn't expect, and this story is a great illustration of that. Balak wants to curse the Israelites and so he goes to Balaam. Balaam is not the type of person God normally speaks through, but in this situation He decides to do it.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Sometimes we expect God to act in a certain way. We assume He'll do things in the normal way that He always has. But God seems to enjoy changing things up. For instance, Jesus healed people in all kinds of ways -- with a word, a touch, by putting mud on them, with spit. So… where do you feel like you may be stuck in a rut with what you expect of God? And can you perceive a new way God might want to work in your life, or might want to use your life, that you haven't been open to but need to?