Sunday, February 22, 2009

Numbers 23-25

Day 53

Our team lost last night!  The Merritt girls never were ahead once the entire ballgame and were even behind by 12 at the end...then all of a sudden they caught up to within 3 points!  Not much time left....a couple of minutes....we are down one point.  ONE POINT!  We have the ball, they pas and pass and pass and are trying to get a foul instead of shooting and the as the buzzer goes off she finally shoots and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!  We lost.  One second. One point.  If they want to get to state they now have to win the next 3 games this coming weekend.  ARGH! We went from hopeful to despair back to hope again back to despair because too far behind and back to hope and then in a split second its all over and ends in despair! Oh the joy of high school playoff basketball!!!  :)
Chapter 23  so this whole Balak and Balaam thing had us confused.  What's the point of Balaam? Is he a "bad guy?"  But he's listening to the Lord?   Is he a prophet?  But he's really just witchcraft?  He's supposed to curse the people...not bless them according to Balak.  So, here's what I've learned.  An oracle is different from a prophecy.  An oracle is a message spoken on behalf of God to the people.  A prophecy is a message of what WILL come to pass in the future. This chapter has 3 oracles from God through Balaam to the Israelites.  Each oracle begins with Balak taking Balaam to a specific location to curse Israel....the "object" must be in sight for a curse to be effective. In each scene, Balaam sacrifices on 7 altars, prompting a Word from the Lord.  Balaam's oracles are blessings rather than curses as wished by Balak.  This unexpected reversal leads in each case to an exchange between Balaam and Balak, in which Balak appears dumbfounded that the diviner has blessed Israel rather than cursed it.  Balaam responds that he can only say what God commands him to say.  The portrait of Balaam is positive. One footnote says that the conviction and lesson learned here is that even a foreign priest-diviner, though not a member of the covenant community, was obedient to the Lord's will and that NOTHING could prevent the fulfillment of the divine purpose for Israel!  

Chapter 24  Here we have Balaam's fourth oracle....only after having a little "spat" with Balak.  Balak's anger burned against Balaam and was furious because he summoned Balaam to curse and all he did was bless! HOW DARE HE?!! :)  The fourth and final oracles finds Balaam leaving his ways of "scorcery" (v. 1)!   What Balaam sees is not "now" or "near" but rather are in the future and he "sees" that Israel will be victorious over Moab and Edom (v. 17-19).  The final oracle is against the Amalekites.  They are a nomadic tribe that opposed Israel early in their history and God has even sworn to protect the Israelites against them.   This poem, of sorts, ends  with the parting of the ways with Balak and Balaam.  These oracles have left the Isreaelites out of the story...pretty much.  What we have here is God still working through blessings ....God's power of providence through blessings!

Chapter 25  OH MY!  Here we go again.....back to the soap opera!  Here we have the Midianite women seducing the Israelite men.  Numbers 25 contains two stories about how the outside world can infect the "purity" of their community....leading even to death.  The men respond to the "invitation" of the  seduction and God gets mad.  Go figure!  The women know good and well that this will cause the men to in and God gives them a warning about being friends "with those type."  :) before...the don't listen and 24,000 people die in the plague before...of their disobedience!  Lesson learned here:  God really is jealous!  Honor only Him!  Give your allegiance only to Him.  

Tomorrow:  chapters 26-27.  Then Monday 28-30. :)  Just in case you read ahead!

Love you all!!! Going to a new church today! THEY start on time and EARLY!  BYE!! :)  

1 comment:

  1. We wouldn't be able to make it through all of this without you. Well, I guess we could, but we wouldn't understand it. I think we're actually going to be able to do it. It's fun.