Daily Thoughts from Numbers: Discipline and the Divine Presence

The LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, “Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites some of the inheritance of their possession as cities for them to dwell in. And you shall give to the Levites pasturelands around the cities. The cities shall be theirs to dwell in, and their pasturelands shall be for their cattle and for their livestock and for all their beasts. The pasturelands of the cities, which you shall give to the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around. And you shall measure, outside the city, on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, the city being in the middle. This shall belong to them as pastureland for their cities.

“The cities that you give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, where you shall permit the manslayer to flee, and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. All the cities that you give to the Levites shall be forty-eight, with their pasturelands. And as for the cities that you shall give from the possession of the people of Israel, from the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few; each, in proportion to the inheritance that it inherits, shall give of its cities to the Levites.”   

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there. The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment. And the cities that you give shall be your six cities of refuge. You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there.

“But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death.  And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.

“But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait or used a stone that could cause death, and without seeing him dropped it on him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy and did not seek his harm, then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these rules. And the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the boundaries of his city of refuge to which he fled, and the avenger of blood finds him outside the boundaries of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood.  For he must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession. And these things shall be for a statute and rule for you throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest. You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”  (Numbers 35:1-34 ESV)

The Levites do not inherit land in Israel, but instead are given pasture land around the cities designated by Israel, 48 in all.  Six of these cities are cities of refuge where someone who kills another without malice aforethought may flee for protection from the dead person’s relative.  Instead of a police force for such things, the relative of someone murdered was expected to take vengeance on the murderer.  But there had to be at least two witnesses to convict someone of murder and if it was deemed manslaughter instead of first degree murder, the manslayer was to live in the city of refuge until the high priest at the time died.  This was his penalty.

God required the death of a 1st degree murderer, however, in order to atone for the blood spilled in His land.  Only the death of the killer kept the land from being defiled.  Yahweh dwelled in the land among His people and there would be repercussions for defiling the land.

Yahweh dwells among us, His church, as well.  His holy presence requires a reciprocal holiness on our part and a readiness to deal with our failures in regard to holiness.  Paul says we are capable of judging such cases among us (1 Corinthians 6) and applying discipline correctly.  Jesus told us that where two or three agree on any discipline it will be done in heaven (Matthew 18:15ff).

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Daily Thoughts from Numbers: God’s Big Purposes

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you enter the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan as defined by its borders), your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin alongside Edom, and your southern border shall run from the end of the Salt Sea on the east. And your border shall turn south of the ascent of Akrabbim, and cross to Zin, and its limit shall be south of Kadesh-barnea. Then it shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass along to Azmon. And the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and its limit shall be at the sea.

“For the western border, you shall have the Great Sea and its coast. This shall be your western border.

“This shall be your northern border: from the Great Sea you shall draw a line to Mount Hor. From Mount Hor you shall draw a line to Lebo-hamath, and the limit of the border shall be at Zedad. Then the border shall extend to Ziphron, and its limit shall be at Hazar-enan. This shall be your northern border.

“You shall draw a line for your eastern border from Hazar-enan to Shepham.  And the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain. And the border shall go down and reach to the shoulder of the Sea of Chinnereth on the east. And the border shall go down to the Jordan, and its limit shall be at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land as defined by its borders all around.”

Moses commanded the people of Israel, saying, “This is the land that you shall inherit by lot, which the LORD has commanded to give to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe. For the tribe of the people of Reuben by fathers’ houses and the tribe of the people of Gad by their fathers’ houses have received their inheritance, and also the half-tribe of Manasseh. The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, toward the sunrise.”  (Numbers 34:1-15 ESV)

God does not leave the people any guess work regarding just what territory they can call their own and in fact it belongs to Him and they are tenants on His land.  The ESV Study Bible note remarks: “In fact, Israel never occupied all this territory—it represents the Promised Land, not the subsequently occupied land, of Israel.”

Israel never had faith in this first phase of occupation to fully dispossess the nations of Canaan.  In the reign of Solomon this was nearly all encompassed in Israel or at least parts still occupied by other nations paid tribute to Israel and her king.

What are the borders God has given you and me?  What does He want us to accomplish and are we even close?  His dream and purpose for us is big.

The secret of spiritual victory is saying yes to God. William E. Nelson

Daily Thoughts from Numbers: Sin Like Weeds

And the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. According to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”  (Numbers 33:50-56 ESV)

God can’t be more clear that Israel’s future depends on clearing out all the enemies of Canaan in obedience to Him.  He is using Israel as the tool of His judgment on these nations.  The issue is idolatry.  Israel must destroy all their idols and elevated shrines for worship and all the idolaters.  Otherwise their influence will become an irritant that Israel will be unable to ignore and she will fall into the same sin and receive the judgment God had reserved for the Canaanites.

Our greatest problem is being caught up in the thinking of the world, its idolatry, and succumbing to viewing God as just one among many sources of life, or no source at all.  We must “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we [must] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  If we nourish any sin in our thinking it will demolish us.

It is said that many years ago the small farmers of Scotland were a very superstitious people. They would leave a corner of their fields uncultivated in order to pacify certain evil spirits. They believed that by sacrificing this one corner to the spirits, the remainder of the field would be left undisturbed and yield good results.  But what happened, in fact, of course, was that the uncultivated corner produced a crop of weeds and when the wind blew, it scattered those weeds across the whole field.  The whole field suffered because of weeds in one corner.  And so with the Christians life. One sin which is allowed to dominate can infect a man’s whole life, ruin his character, and negate completely his witness for God.  The Hidden Hand, International Bible Encyclopedia, Thomas

Daily Thoughts from Numbers: Obedience and God’s Heart

These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went out of the land of Egypt by their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the LORD, and these are their stages according to their starting places. They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the LORD had struck down among them. On their gods also the LORD executed judgments.

So the people of Israel set out from Rameses and camped at Succoth. And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. And they set out from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which is east of Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol. And they set out from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and they went a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there…And they set out from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai…And they set out from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom.

And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. And Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor.

And the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the people of Israel.

And they set out from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. And they set out from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. And they set out from Punon and camped at Oboth…And they set out from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho; they camped by the Jordan from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.  (Numbers 33:1-49 ESV)

Moses has recorded the journeys of Israel for 40 years in very summary fashion with little to no commentary.  He does comment that the account was by Yahweh’s command and that their departure from Egypt was a triumph over the Egyptians whose firstborn were being buried as a judgment by God and that all the plagues were a judgment by Yahweh on all the gods of the Egyptians (by which we should understand fallen angels who represented themselves as gods).

Moses passes quickly over how Israel “passed through the midst of the sea” by a miraculous wind sent by Yahweh to dry their path, which then closed over the Egyptians as they sought to follow.

He brings Israel to their current position near Moab, but not without commenting that a Canaanite king has heard of them, a hint of the terror Yahweh is putting on the inhabitants of the land in preparation for their defeat, and not without noting Aaron’s death at age 123 in discipline of his failing to obey God by speaking to the rock to provide water.  Moses, of course, also will have this discipline and this reminds the people of that.

All this shows Yahweh’s providential ability to care for His people and serves perhaps also as a mild warning to be obedient this time when they stage for war.  God is willing to give us second chances and more.  The thing He most wants us to learn is trusting and obeying.

Last summer I had an encounter with masked men bearing scalpels. A surgeon operated on my foot, and my life was never in danger. Yet the horizontal recovery time did give me a chance to reflect on pain that we choose voluntarily, sometimes for our own good and sometimes to our peril.

While rehabilitating, I often did exercises that hurt because I knew that working through the soreness would allow my foot to regain its usefulness. On the other hand, the surgeon warned against bicycling, mountain climbing, running, and other activities that might endanger the healing process. Basically, anything that sounded fun, he vetoed.

On one visit I tried to talk him into granting me a premature golf match. “Some friends get together once a year. It’s important to me. I’ve been practicing my swing, and if I use only my upper body and keep my legs and hips very still, could I join them?”

Without a flicker of hesitation, my doctor replied, “It would make me very unhappy if you played golf within the next two months.”

“I thought you were a golfer,” I said, appealing to his sympathies.

“I am. That’s how I know you can’t swing without rolling that foot inward and putting weight on the parts that are trying to heal.”

The point was obvious. My doctor has nothing against my playing golf; as a fellow golfer, he sympathizes with me. But he has my best interests at heart. It will indeed make him unhappy if I do something prematurely that might damage my long-term recovery. He wants me to play golf next year, and the next, and the rest of my life, and for that reason he could not sanction a match too soon after my surgery.

As we talked, I began to appreciate my doctor’s odd choice of words. If he had issued an edict —”No golf!”— I might have stubbornly rebelled. He left me the free choice and expressed the consequences in a most personal way: Disobedience would grieve him, for his job was to restore my health.

The role of a doctor may be the most revealing image in thinking about God and sin. What a doctor does for me physically—guide me toward health—God does for me spiritually. I am learning to view sins not as an arbitrary list of rules drawn up by a cranky Judge, but rather as a list of dangers that must be avoided at all costs—for our own sakes. (Philip Yancey)

Daily Thoughts from Numbers: Temptation

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.” So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian. You shall send a thousand from each of the tribes of Israel to the war.” So there were provided, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from each tribe, together with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. They warred against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every male. They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. And they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword. And the people of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones, and they took as plunder all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods. All their cities in the places where they lived, and all their encampments, they burned with fire, and took all the spoil and all the plunder, both of man and of beast. Then they brought the captives and the plunder and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the people of Israel, at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the chiefs of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp. And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live? Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves. Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day. You shall purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”

Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the LORD has commanded Moses:  only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water. You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. And afterward you may come into the camp.”

The LORD said to Moses, “Take the count of the plunder that was taken, both of man and of beast, you and Eleazar the priest and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the congregation, and divide the plunder into two parts between the warriors who went out to battle and all the congregation. And levy for the LORD a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks. Take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as a contribution to the LORD. And from the people of Israel’s half you shall take one drawn out of every fifty, of the people, of the oxen, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, of all the cattle, and give them to the Levites who keep guard over the tabernacle of the LORD.” And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses…

Then the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, came near to Moses and said to Moses, “Your servants have counted the men of war who are under our command, and there is not a man missing from us. And we have brought the LORD’s offering, what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and beads, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD.” And Moses and Eleazar the priest received from them the gold, all crafted articles.  (Numbers 31:1-51 ESV)

Because Midian, at Balaam’s instruction, used their women to lead Israel into idolatry, Yahweh sends 12,000 of the army against them.  They kill all the men, including Balaam, but are enticed again by the women and keep them alive.  Moses instructs them to kill all the women who have been with a man and then explains how the rest of the spoils of war are to be distributed, some to the people who stayed back in camp and some to the Priests and the Levites.

The soldiers decide to bring an offering of gold from their plunder to atone for their sin in keeping the women alive.  They note that remarkably not one Israelite was killed in the battle, a sure sign that Yahweh was fighting for them and giving unusual protection.

Even when our motives are not the best God often graciously exceeds what we wanted to see happen.  It is important for us to recognize our wrong motives and give honor to Him for his goodness and grace toward us.

We undoubtedly struggle with Yahweh’s determination to kill all the other captives besides the immature females.  This is the unusual judgment He gives concerning the Canaanites and, in this case, the Midianites, because of their unnecessary desire to destroy Israel.  Only God has the right to determine who lives and dies and it was His judgment that this was the case for this particular enemy.  Their temptation of Israel would continue to exist and perhaps lead Israel astray.

We must deal decisively with temptation.  Jesus spoke in exaggerated terms when he said if your hand offends you cut it off (Matthew 5:30).   Nothing is more important than staying in relationship to God and following His commands.  They are the path to life away from destruction.

Daily Thoughts from Numbers: Equally Yoked

While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”

And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.  (Numbers 25:1-9 ESV)

Whereas the king of Moab cannot get Balaam to bring God’s curse down on Israel, Israel brings down His curse by their willingness to enter into sexual and spiritual relationship with the women of Moab and Midian.  They allow their relationships with these women to influence their worship, bowing down to and bonding themselves to Baal.  There were many versions of Baal worship, local or national versions, but they all involved re-enacting the fertilization of the earth by Baal.  The sexual act was part of Baal worship.

This apostasy is so heinous that the punishment is death and public exposure by hanging the dead body on a pike.  Phinehas understands the seriousness of the rebellion and kills an Israeli man in the act of taking a Midianite woman in marriage.  This stops Yahweh’s plague but still many are killed.  This was a wide scale abandonment of Yahweh.

God has big visions for us but we must stay in obedience to realize them.  And that includes having our most intimate relationships be with those who also follow Christ and not yielding to the influence of the ungodly.  As the apostle Paul said,

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.   Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14–18, ESV)

Daily Thoughts from Numbers: Discipline

But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. And when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck her again. Then the angel of the LORD went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”  And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”

Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.

When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, on the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border. And Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”  Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak.” Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.

And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.  (Numbers 22:22-41 ESV)

When the messenger/angel of Yahweh does not take a form, being a pure spirit, he is invisible to Balaam.  Yet Balaam is supposed to be sensitive to Yahweh’s presence and he is not.  His donkey is more sensitive than Balaam is and reacts to the angel.  Balaam expresses little surprise when his donkey speaks and carries on a conversation with him.  Even then he is not sensitive to God’s doings.  So when he says he sinned because he did not know Yahweh was standing in front of him, he speaks correctly.  And of course it is evil in God’s sight to go with Balak’s men to try to curse Israel.  But again God wants this to happen to show Balak that God’s people are under His blessing.

When we go against our conscience and seek to justify wrong actions we are in for the discipline of God.  The harder we make our conscience, the harder the discipline must be to get through to us.  Balaam was hoping for some way to get the remuneration that Balak was offering (see 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11).  He was also guilty of abusing his animal.  Each is a self-centered action and merits discipline.

Has Balaam learned his lesson?  We’ll see that he has not.  Are you trying to stand against God’s discipline?  What is so appealing about your sin that you will not listen to or see God right in front of you?

Any area of your life not occupied by Jesus Christ is a bridgehead for Satan. [Stephen F. Olford]