Morning Reading & Prayer
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Opening – (Northumbria Community)
One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Please Read: Numbers 21-24 (NLT) – click here
Reflection & Prayer
Balak Sends for Balaam
Numbers 22:1-20 (NLT) – Then the people of Israel traveled to the plains of Moab and camped east of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Balak son of Zippor, the Moabite king, had seen everything the Israelites did to the Amorites. And when the people of Moab saw how many Israelites there were, they were terrified. The king of Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This mob will devour everything in sight, like an ox devours grass in the field!”
So Balak, king of Moab, sent messengers to call Balaam son of Beor, who was living in his native land of Pethor near the Euphrates River. His message said:
“Look, a vast horde of people has arrived from Egypt. They cover the face of the earth and are threatening me. Please come and curse these people for me because they are too powerful for me. Then perhaps I will be able to conquer them and drive them from the land. I know that blessings fall on any people you bless, and curses fall on people you curse.”
Balak’s messengers, who were elders of Moab and Midian, set out with money to pay Balaam to place a curse upon Israel. They went to Balaam and delivered Balak’s message to him. “Stay here overnight,” Balaam said. “In the morning I will tell you whatever the Lord directs me to say.” So the officials from Moab stayed there with Balaam.
That night God came to Balaam and asked him, “Who are these men visiting you?”
Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent me this message: ‘Look, a vast horde of people has arrived from Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come and curse these people for me. Then perhaps I will be able to stand up to them and drive them from the land.’”
But God told Balaam, “Do not go with them. You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed!”
The next morning Balaam got up and told Balak’s officials, “Go on home! The Lord will not let me go with you.”
So the Moabite officials returned to King Balak and reported, “Balaam refused to come with us.” Then Balak tried again. This time he sent a larger number of even more distinguished officials than those he had sent the first time. They went to Balaam and delivered this message to him:
“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to help me. I will pay you very well and do whatever you tell me. Just come and curse these people for me!”
But Balaam responded to Balak’s messengers, “Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord my God. But stay here one more night, and I will see if the Lord has anything else to say to me.”
That night God came to Balaam and told him, “Since these men have come for you, get up and go with them. But do only what I tell you to do.”
Numbers 22:21-35 (NLT) – So the next morning Balaam got up, saddled his donkey, and started off with the Moabite officials. But God was angry that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way. As Balaam and two servants were riding along, Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat it and turned it back onto the road. Then the angel of the Lord stood at a place where the road narrowed between two vineyard walls. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So Balaam beat the donkey again. Then the angel of the Lord moved farther down the road and stood in a place too narrow for the donkey to get by at all. This time when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down under Balaam. In a fit of rage Balaam beat the animal again with his staff.
Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” it asked Balaam.
“You have made me look like a fool!” Balaam shouted. “If I had a sword with me, I would kill you!”
“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,” the donkey answered. “Have I ever done anything like this before?”
“No,” Balaam admitted.
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him.
“Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.”
Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”
But the angel of the Lord told Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials.
Balaam Blesses Israel
Numbers 23:7-12 (NLT) – This was the message Balaam delivered:
“Balak summoned me to come from Aram; the king of Moab brought me from the eastern hills. ‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me! Come and announce Israel’s doom.’
“But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the Lord has not condemned? I see them from the cliff tops; I watch them from the hills. I see a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations. Who can count Jacob’s descendants, as numerous as dust? Who can count even a fourth of Israel’s people? Let me die like the righteous; let my life end like theirs.”
Then King Balak demanded of Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. Instead, you have blessed them!”
But Balaam replied, “I will speak only the message that the Lord puts in my mouth.”
Balaam’s Second Message
Numbers 23:18-20 (NLT) – This was the message Balaam delivered:
“Rise up, Balak, and listen! Hear me, son of Zippor. God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!”
Balaam’s Third Message
Numbers 24:1-6, 9 (NLT) – By now Balaam realized that the Lord was determined to bless Israel, so he did not resort to divination as before. Instead, he turned and looked out toward the wilderness, where he saw the people of Israel camped, tribe by tribe. Then the Spirit of God came upon him, and this is the message he delivered:
“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of the man whose eyes see clearly, the message of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who bows down with eyes wide open:
How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob; how lovely are your homes, O Israel! They spread before me like palm groves, like gardens by the riverside. They are like tall trees planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters.
Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you.”
“Strong God” – New Life Worship
Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!