Monday, May 28, 2012

Israelites Engage in Worship to Baal; Absorbing the Wise Word

Today's Reading:
  • Numbers 24:1 - 25:18
  • Proverbs 11:14
Read Bible Passages Online

Numbers 24:1 - 25:18

Balaam was set to converse with the Lord for a third time regarding the people of Israel.  We are told that Balaam realized instead that the Lord was not changing his mind -- the Israelites were blessed.  Balaam spoke to Balak in the Holy Spirit.  Balaam blessed the Israelites and cursed everyone who curses them.

Balak was extremely angry and ordered Balaam to leave.  Before Balaam left, he prophesied the destruction of Moab, Edom, Amalek, and the Kenites.  As far as I can tell right now, Balaam obeyed the Lord's commands.  My study bible, however, suggests that the story of Balaam is not yet over.

In Chapter 25 we learn of a serious offense that many Israelites partcipated in.  Many men of Israel took the Moabite and Midianite women to their beds, and began to worship the women's god -- Baal of Peor.  Of course this angered the Lord, and a plague began to spread throughout the people.

Moses conversed with the Lord, and the Lord commanded him to execute those men who had started this rebellion.  We are told that while all this was happening, and while people were weeping in front of the Tabernacle, an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman into his tent, presumably to have sex with her.

The son of Eleazar immediately grabbed a spear and ran into the tent.  He thrust the spear through the man, which also traveled through to the stomach of the woman.  The Lord was instantly appeased with the action, and the plague stopped -- but not before 24,000 had died.

The reading ends by ordering Moses to attack Moab for tricking the Israelites into worshiping Baal.  This suggests to me that the plot was hatched by Moab itself, since Balak had been unsuccessful at getting Balaam to curse the people, perhaps the Israelites could manage to curse themselves by worshiping another god.

Proverbs 11:14
Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.
This verse also applies to those of us who are leaders of a nation.  We are still leaders of our lives, leaders of our ministry to others, leaders of our interactions, leaders of our flesh, leaders of our families. 

Be wise, and take heed from your advisers.  Don't shrug off the advice of others, the wise person takes it to heart.  And don't forget to consult the best source of wisdom ever written -- the Word. 

The Word is available at our fingertips.  We are blessed in that way.  Many people have multiple bibles in their houses.  We have bibles on the internet, bibles on our phones, bibles on our tablets -- bibles everywhere.  Copies of the New Testament can be had for a dollar.  There are people willing to provide bibles for those who don't have one.  In our nation, we truly have the wisdom of God available at our fingertips -- here for the taking.  Open your eyes and open your heart -- be a wise leader of those around you and absorb the Word of God.

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