Num 17:20b “I am your share and your allotment.” PRAISE!!!!
Num 20:2-5 Again, the people say woe is us!! Something God is teaching me through the OT-patience for others and with myself! Again I find myself saying, “You Israelites!! What is with the oh we never should have left Egypt junk?!” Slowly though, as I LISTEN, I’m feeling this was so very necessary for us to see the nature of mankind. I’m learning that no matter how mightily God has made Himself known in our lives, no matter what atrocities He delivered us from, no matter what miracles we’ve experienced, our human nature tends to become discontent easily and wants to gloss over everything we’ve come through. My tendency is to make light of what God has conquered and think oh I wasn’t really that bad off. Sounds a bit like the Israelites, doesn’t it?! So, patience for others… knowing they struggle with these same tendencies, the same pull back to bondage…and patience for myself by seeing that God still loved the Israelites regardless!! Even though there were consequences, His desire was still for them to trust Him and move forward to the land He had for them. I’m trusting Him to take me to the Promised Land by whatever path He has set for me…I know the pull of my personal “Egypt” is always there BUT my God is so much stronger!! Don’t look on bondage with nostalgia! See it’s truth! See it’s reality! See the chains that held us! See the whips that beat us and kept us down! Truly see the deliverance that was given and what we were delivered from! Bondage: n. the state of being a slave. Slave: n. a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them. What were we in bondage to?? What were we slaves to?? What truly controlled us while we were convinced we were in control? Deliverance: n. the action of being rescued or set free. Jesus came to be our Deliverer…stop looking back fondly at our bondage and start looking forward to the “Promised Land” that He came to carry us to!!
Num 22:18 “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.'” What a strong sentence! He recognized that no earthly wealth or power can stand against God! LOVE THIS!! What’s ironic though? The whole Balak thing (22:2-40) was pointless…God had already forbidden Israel to take land from Moab in Deuteronomy 2:9!!
Vs 21-34 Balaam on the road with his donkey. Vs 29-30 make me laugh a bit! Balaam has been beating the tar out of his poor donkey and the donkey looks at him and says, “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” Balaam just shouts in response, “You have made me look like a fool!” Hmmm…now I think my response would’ve been a bit more, oh I don’t know, fear mixed with disbelief mixed a healthy dose of I’m losing my mind!! Hello??!! The donkey is talking to you!! I love this story though because looking back I can see so many times when God placed “donkeys” in my life…people or obstacles to try to keep me from the danger I was headed toward. Here’s this poor donkey trying to protect Balaam but he just beats it and pushes on…how many times in my life have I done that?! Pushed on in the path I wanted to go no matter the attempts of others to dissuade me? We can’t even begin to know all the times God has intervened to keep us from danger-but how many times do we get angry or frustrated that things don’t happen the way we plan? So what do we do with that? Will we fall on our face before God and follow His will for us or will we continue to beat the poor donkey?! Father, help me to recognize Your path for me and Your intervention when I stray from it. Help me to stop resisting the “donkeys” that You’ve placed in my life!
Num 23:1-28 Three times King Balak tries to change God’s mind so Balaam can curse the Israelites. Vs 27: “Come I will take you to one more place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them from there.” Lesson in this?? Vs. 19: “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind.” It is futile to try to work against God’s will!! “Even a donkey, the symbol of stubbornness, knew when to quit, but not the stubborn, willful prophet!” -The Believer’s Bible Commentary
Num 24:9b “Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you.” The world would do well to remember this!!
Num 26:1-51 The census. In the census numbers I see God’s mercy. Even though the people rebelled against Him time and again, He didn’t cut any of them off completely. Even though the two sons of Judah, Er and Onan, were killed, the surviving sons thrived. In spite of their disobedience and punishment, they were numbered as the largest tribe.
Mark 16:1-Luke 3:22
Mk 16:1-4 “But love leaps over mountains of difficulties to reach the object of its affection.” -Believer’s Bible Commentary (in reference to where the women were prepared to anoint Jesus, in spite of the large rock that had sealed the tomb) Beautiful!!
Vs 11: “But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.” How often does that happen today? How many times do we share that Jesus is alive and we’ve “seen him” (felt Him/met Him/been changed by Him) only to be met by disbelief? How do we handle that/react? Do we allow it to cloud our belief? To lead us to questioning our faith? Or do we stand boldly in the truth that we know because God has indeed revealed Himself to us??!!
Vs 15: “And then he told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.'” GO!! This isn’t just for those disciples at that time! It is for all of Jesus’ disciples-for me! This doesn’t necessarily mean going physically…but don’t we live in a unique time that allows us to reach people all over the world with just a few clicks of a button??!! Social media…how are we using it and how should we be using it? Can people look at our profiles and see evidence of the faith that we claim to possess? Can they see Jesus in our online presence or are we just caught up in the worldliness of it all?! Social media can definitely be a force for goodness and light in this dark world or it can just pull us down into the evil like so many others…the choice is ours!
Luke 1:3 “Theophilus” according to a note in my Bible, this could’ve been an actual person OR a “figurative way of addressing any Christian or group of Christians, since the name means ‘lover of God’.”
Vs 15b: “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.” John the Baptist: The only time this has ever or will ever happen.
Vs 37: “FOR THE WORD OF GOD WILL NEVER FAIL.” !!!!!!!!YES!!!!!!!!
Vs 38: “Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.'” May this always be my heart’s cry! God, I am Your servant! Bring Your will for my life to pass. I pray that I will be receptive to You in all things…no matter if I’m frightened or unsure of the how…help me, Lord to trust You in all things!!
Vs 46b-48a: “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl.” PRAISE!! He notices even me!
Lk 2:45-46 “When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.” My first thought was three days??!! Umm..hello mom and dad!! But my commentary said this: “Before condemning Joseph and Mary, we should remember how easy it is for us to travel a day’s journey, supposing Jesus to be in the company, when actually we have lost contact with Him through unconfessed sin in our lives.” OUCH!! Plus, further research said that more than likely they would have been travelling in a caravan type situation and they probably assumed Jesus to be running and playing in with a large number of the group’s children.
Ps 55:10 “It’s walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city.” To me this speaks of the “devil made me do it” mentality. Matt. 15:8 says, “But the words you speak come from the heart-that’s what defiles you.” And Prov. 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Jer 17:9 (NIV) says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” The Word of God clearly states over and over that I’m my own worst enemy! How many times do I set up guard against “invaders” only to fall to the wickedness within? Walls and hedges of protection do no good if I don’t first rid my “city” of the “wickedness within”. Start with my heart-everything in life flows from what’s there. Have Your way in my heart, God. Cleanse me for Your glory…protect my heart so that I don’t destroy myself. Guard my life from outside attacks but also help me to never lose sight of my own sin nature that can, and will, destroy me if I let it have control!
Ps 56:9b “THIS I KNOW: GOD IS ON MY SIDE!”
Vs 12-13: “I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help. For you have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.”