Friday, August 29, 2014

Roots can Produce Good or Bad Fruit

O. T. #353  "Roots can Produce Good or Bad Fruit"
August 29, 2014
Numbers 26
These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.  Numbers 26:63


Sometimes our pecan tree has a lot of good pecan nuts to eat. Sometimes it has only an empty inner shell. My conclusion is that good and bad fruit can come from the same roots. So it is with families. Siblings can have the same parents, upbringing, even privileges, yet turn out to be so different. One child may spend their life serving the Lord while the other one does not. Such was the case of the Israeli family.

Here we have the second census being taken, under God's instructions. It took place after Eleazar made atonement and God stopped the plague killing Israel. The first census occurred over 38 years earlier (chapter 1). All the men age 20 and up, fit for military service were counted. The purpose of this census was for the division of the land which they were going to conquer. (Later, David's census was not under God's directions.) The exact location of each tribe was determined by lot (Josh.13-19).
What were the results of the census?
  • The new generation was counted. There was a total loss of 1,820 adult males from the previous census. During the wandering years some 1,200,000 people died! (Falwell)
  • Although the casting of lots determined the land each tribe possessed, consideration was given to the numerical size of each tribe.
  • The decline of the tribe of Simeon was probably due to its participation in the sin of Baal of Peor (chapter 25).
  • The Levites (priestly tribe) were counted separately. With a total of 23,000, there was an increase of over 1,000 from the last census.
  • Singled out for special mention because of their part in the rebellion recorded in chapter 16 were Dathan and Abiram (tribe of Reuben). The led a revolt against Moses and Aaron with the earth swallowing them, Korah, and their family in their tent.(verse 9)
  • The other children of Korah were spared judgment because they separated themselves from their father's house.
  • Er and Onan were two sons of Judah who did not receive an inheritance in the land because of their great evil (Gen.38).
  • Zelophehad had no sons, only five daughters, asked for an inheritance of their father. The previous laws only allowed the sons to inherit land, but God changed it (chapter 27). These daughters were of the families of Manasseh, son of Joseph. (Their father was not against the LORD with the company of Korah.) This resulted in a new law of inheritance of property for both daughters and sons. (MacArthur)

How was the Promised Land of Canaan, to be conquered, divided up later? The twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob) were promised by God to be a separate nation, having their own land.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible gives more insight of this chapter as to how the families of the tribes were numbered:
  • Dan had only one son, yet the most numerous of all, except for Judah. (verses 42-43)
  • Zebulun was divided into 3 families;
  • Divided into 4 families each were Ephraim, Issachar, Naphtali, and Reuben.
  • Divided into 5 families apiece were Judah, Simeon, and Asher.
  • Gad and Benjamin had 7 families apiece.
  • Manassseh had 8 families.
  • Benjamin brought 10 sons into Egypt, of whom 3 died childless or became extinct.
  • The second census population of Israel was 1, 820 less than the first census, although 7 tribes increased in number.
  • All the 3 tribes that were encamped under the standard of Judah, who was the ancestor of Christ, were increased, for his church shall be edified and multiplied.
  • Manasseh had been the smallest of the tribes, but increased more than the others.
  • None of the tribes decreased as much as Simeon, about a third.
  • Perhaps it was due to the iniquity of Peor, where Zimri led in sin with the Midianite women.
  • The other sons of Korah who did not rebel against Moses and Aaron later became singers in the house of the Lord, employed by David.
  • The power of God can bring choice fruits even out of bitter root.
While some family members go the way of sin, live an unreputable life, bringing disgrace to the family, not all do the same. Some members of the same family can turn to serve the Lord and honor Him with their lives.

The tribe of Levi was God's tribe of priests. The were not given land, nor did they go to war.

God was preparing the Israelites to occupy the Promised Land. Even today, God protects His children, Israel from their enemies.

Are we teaching our family about the salvation and love of God? Will they stay close to Him in their lifetime? Our roots can produce fruit.


Stay faithful to God.

Teach our family His Word and His faithfulness.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bad Advice

O. T. #352  "Bad Advice"
August 28, 2014
Numbers 25
And he shall have it (covenant of peace), and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.  Numbers 25:13


Phinehas was the son of Eleazar, who was serving as high priest at this time, and the grandson of Aaron, the first high priest.
God blessed Phinehas, according to verse 13: his descendants would have a covenant of lasting priesthood in Israel because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.

What an honor and reward for Phinehas to receive from God.
Are you praying for God to call your children and grandchildren into His ministry? I certainly am. What an honor it would be. I pray their faithfulness, worship, and service to God will continue throughout their lives. Also, my great-grandchildren.


Balaam gave some bad advice, as far as Israel was concerned. He was focused on the money he missed out on by blessing Israel and not cursing them. The bad advice meant the downfall and death of some of Israel. Greedy, wouldn't you say?

Do we give bad advice so we can profit? Do we have discernment so we do not take bad advice? Are we in God's Word so we know what pleases Him? Or are we focused on pleasing our flesh instead?

Want to know what led up to this?
  • Balaam wanted the money and honor that Balak had promised him before he blessed Israel.
  • So Balaam told Balak how to defeat Israel-involve them in pagan feasts and idol worship.
  • The Israelite men became sexually immoral with the women of Moab, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods.
  • People ate and bowed down before these gods.
  • Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor.
  • The Lord's anger burned against them.
  • Moses instructed Israel's judges to put to death those men who joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.
  • An Israelite man had the gall to bring a Midianite woman right before Moses.
  • This happened when Moses and the whole assembly were weeping at the Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle).
  • Obviously, the reason for this weeping was a plague of God's judgment was upon Israel. (24,000 Israelites ended up dying.)
Worshipping a false god and idol was in violation of the first commandment, which God gave the Israelites.

What did Phineas do to receive such a reward from God?
  • He saw what was happening.
  • He left the assembly.
  • He took a spear in his hand.
  • He followed the Israelite (with the Moabitess) into his tent.
  • He drove the spear through both the man, named Zimri, and woman, named Cozbi, who was a tribal chief of the Midianites' daughter.
  • The plague against Israel stopped, but not before 24,000 died.
  • After this, the LORD told Moses to treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them because they treated Israel as enemies when they deceived Israel in this matter.

Let me explain about the worship of Baal-peor.
Baal was a local heathen god worshiped at Peor. It was a god of the Moabite mountains. As the sun-god, Baal was worshiped because they believed he gave light and warmth, as well as destroyed the summer vegetation with the fierce heat. So the Moabites sacrificed to Baal in order to appease his anger in time of plague or other trouble. The victim of sacrifice was usually the first-born of the sacrifice and being burnt alive.
(Falwell resource was International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

Talk about sick minded people. I am sure you will agree. Then it came to me-Americans are no better. We kill unborn babies with chemicals to burn them to death, while sacrificing them to our immoral pleasures. God forgive us! Will you join me in begging for forgiveness and mercy?
Let us stand up against abortion and proclaim the sins involved in it. Help us turn our youth to God.
Do we not deserve plagues that accompany such promiscuous living?
Will we promote abstinence?
Are we being the example of faithfulness to our spouse and God?

Now we see why Phinehas was rewarded by God. Not only Phinehas, but his descendants were honored by God with the high priesthood.

Because of Phinehas's zeal for God's holiness, the Lord made "a covenant of an everlasting priesthood" with him so that through his family line would come all future, legitimate high priests (Ps. 106:30-31). this promise will extend even into the millennial kingdom (Ezek. 40:46; 44:10,15; 48:11) This promise comprised the basis for the priestly covenant (Gen. 9:16).  (MacArthur)

A history lesson: Aaron had two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar. Phinehas was the son of Eleazar. For some unknown reason, the High Priesthood was switched from Eleazar to Eli (1 Sam. 1), a descendant of Ithamar. However, in the days of David it returned to the line promised here through Zado, a descendant of Eleazar (1 Kings 1). (Falwell)

Don't be vexed with the wiles of people, as verse 18 warns.
Christians need to be careful as individuals and churches to mingle with the heathen and other religions. Revelation 2:14 speaks of the doctrine of Balaam.


Discern advice.

Seek the Lord's Word and will in matters.

Strive to live by God's ways.

Teach others the narrow way.

Stand against abortion and sinful lifestyles.

Pray, pray, pray.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Will They Remember About You?

O. T. #351  "What Will They Remember About You?
August 27, 2014
Numbers 23-24, Part 2
And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place; and Balak also went his way.  Numbers 24:25


What are you and I going to be remembered for having accomplished or done in our life?
I must say, up until this summer, my life has been pretty mundane.
Our Vacation Bible School theme this year was being detectives. The children were to be detectives, searching for evidences about Jesus. Well, my sister in law and I decided to liven up the place. We nightly dressed in various costumes-camouflage, chickens, hogs, tropical gals, as undercover agents looking for children who memorized the Bible verse. (Of course, we had to walk like chickens, snort like hogs. We all needed a good laugh so our mission was accomplished. Children did memorize the Word of God. I am still hearing about it. So at my funeral, after all those dignified pictures are shown, they will probably show pictures of my crazy side. Hey, laughter is good medicine.

Please excuse me for not posting yesterday. I was attending an "American Renewal" conference. Various political leaders and speakers challenged pastors to preach the Word of God, pray for our nation as morals decline, and hold up the standard of Christ. It was very encouraging. I want to encourage everyone to vote this November for issues and candidates which abide by the Word of God. The church sat silently allowing abortion and homosexuality has entered the public arena.

We left Balaam having a tour with Balak, king of Moab. The purpose of their meeting was so Balak could persuade Balaam to curse Israel. God instructed Balaam to only speak what He told him. Then Balaam tells of four visions, oracles, speeches about Israel:
  1. Israel's calling was to be a special people, separate from the other nations. God had blessed Israel and Balaam could not curse them.
  2. Israel was delivered from Egypt by the blood of the Lamb, though they sin. God accepted them.
  3. Israel would occupy Canaan, enjoying the Promised Land. As a great lion captures and eats her prey, so Israel would be victorious because God was with them.
  4. Israel's future glory would involve the coming kings of King David ruling the land, and then King Jesus ruling during the millennial kingdom.
God keeps His promises. He does not lie. We can make those statements, since we can read the rest of the story. Can we not take comfort in the same?

When God brings us out of our Egypt, He calls us to be a peculiar people; He blesses us; He gives us our Promised Land, providing what we need to serve Him; He reigns as King upon the throne of our heart.

What a description of God's blessings upon Israel:
  • valleys spread out,
  • gardens beside a river,
  • aloes planted by the LORD,
  • cedars beside the waters,
  • buckets of water,
  • seeds with abundant water,
  • a king greater than Agag,
  • an exalted kingdom,
  • have the strength of an ox,
  • devour hostile nations, breaking their bones, using piercing arrows, like a lion.
May those who bless Israel be blessed, and those who curse Israel be cursed.


In the last of chapter 25, Balaam tells to Balak the future of these nations:
  • Amalek will come to ruin at last. (verse 20)
  • The Kenites will be destroyed when Asshur captures them. (verse 22)
  • Ships will come for the shores of Kittim, subduing Asshur and Eber, but they too will come to ruin. (verse 24)
Balak told Balaam that he would reward Balaam for cursing Israel, but since he blessed instead, there was no reward. Balak blamed the Lord for keeping Balaam from being rewarded. Oh, well. Balaam had told Balak that even if he gave him a palace filled with silver and gold, Balaam could not do anything of his own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LORD.

Sounds like an "I told you so" statement.

How does this meeting end? Balaam got up and returned home and Balak went his own way.

This perverted prophet now disappears from the pages of the Bible. He was killed (31:8) when Israel later invaded and defeated the Midianites.  In the New Testament, however, he is mentioned by nor less than three authors:
  • Peter speaks of the way of Balaam (2 Peter 2:15)
  • Jude mentions the error of Balaam (Jude 11)
  • John refers to his doctrine which became a stumbling block to Israel.  (Falwell)
Really, I don't want people to remember me as being so stubborn that God used a talking donkey to bring me to my knees of surrender. Do you?
I don't want the errors of my ways remembered either. I desire a willing heart to accomplish God's will in my life.


Surrender to God's will.

Obey God's directions and commands.

Trust His way is best.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bless and Curse

O. T. #350 "Bless and Curse"
August 25, 2014
Numbers 23-Part 1
God is not a man, that he should life; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he don't dot it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 
 Numbers 23:19


James asked, in 3:9-11,  With the same tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

How often do I find myself doing the same thing? People can get on your last nerve, right? It can only take one thing to tick you off and here you go. Okay, they can get on my last nerve. They can tick me off. And I can spend a whole week talking about one incident. Making others miserable around me, avoid me because of it. Then I have wasted a whole week in that mood. Oh, then I turn around and praise God in song. Are you with me? God's grace does not blow me off the face of the earth, I deserve. Why can't I learn to pray for that person that ticks me off instead of reacting? Turn the other cheek, show love they need? Bless and curse with the same tongue.
God was not going to allow Balaam to curse Israel, though.

Here is the meeting which Balak, king of Moab, had long awaited. They got their bellies full at a a feast, then Balak showed his guest his land. They got down to business. Keep in mind, Balak expects Balaam to curse Israel so Moab and Midian are protected from any attacks. To Balak's surprise, every time Balaam opened up his mouth to speak, he blessed Israel instead.

In chapters 23 and 24, we read of the four visions of Israel which Balaam verbalizes. Let's look at the first two:
  1. Israel's calling-Balaam could not curse Israel because God had blessed Israel.  That nation was a special people, called by God and separate from the other nations. The increase of Israel would be as the dust. Balaam desired to die as a righteous Jew, blessed and in favor with God. (verses 1-12)
  2. Israel's acceptance-Balaam makes it clear that God speaks and keeps His Word.  Man is unreliable, but God is reliable. He does not change. His Word always comes to pass. God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? (Verse 19, NIV)
  What a comfort to know that God's Word is truth. What He says, He will do. What He promises, will be. Does our faith hold onto these truths? Do we need to practice more of these qualities, truthfulness and promise keeper? Do we bless others? Do we keep our word?


     Israel was accepted by God. They had been delivered from Egypt by the blood of the Lamb, and they were God's own purchased possession (Ex. 19:1-6). Humanly speaking, they were failures, but from the divine view-point, they were the people of God forever.  (Wiersbe)

God calls us to salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants a close relationship as a son or daughter with their father. He accepts us whenever our sins are covered with the blood of the Lamb.

Hey, did you see the word unicorn in verse 22. David Guzik says that it is mentioned nine times in the Old Testament. It may refer to a rhinoceros, a wild ox, or a strong goat.
God gives strength when it is needed. If we could just learn to turn to Him for it. A lesson for me to learn. This strength warrants them the capacity to do things their way. What about me?


Don't be stubborn as donkey or head strong as an ox going my own way.

Trust God.

Bless the Lord Jesus.

Hold onto God's truths and promises. Share them with others.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mercy, I Have Sinned!

O. T. #349  "Mercy, I Have Sinned!"
August 22, 2014
Numbers 22-Part 3
And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned...   Numbers 22:34a


We left a donkey with an open mouth and a man with open eyes. Balaam saw Jesus standing in the road with His sword drawn. Both fell down on the ground when they encountered the Holy One.

What did Jesus say to Balaam?
  • He asked why Balaam had beaten his donkey three times. 
  • Jesus came to oppose Balam because his path was a reckless one before Him. (NIV)
  • KJV says, because thy way is perverse before Me. Perverse means to be rash, turn over, hurl (rush) headlong.
  • The donkey saw Me and turned away from Me these three times.
  • If she had not turned away, I certainly would have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.
How do we react when Jesus asks us what we have done? Are we humbled when we realize we have taken the wrong road on our Christian journey? It was not the one He wanted us to travel on. When Jesus reveals to us that the path we are on is a reckless one and our way is perverse before Him, how do we answer?
Are we so heard hearted that Jesus has to threaten us with death to get us on our knees of repentance?

Friends, I have been that rebellious. I took the wrong job, not taking the one Jesus wanted me to take. I stayed there four years, enjoying the money and prestige. Then encountered the demons of hell. I had to get out of there. I fell on my knees in repentance. God got me where He wanted me after I surrendered. I took the job I was supposed to take earlier. I encountered persecution there, but children in my classroom were saved that year. It was all worth the hardship I endured. Mercy, I have sinned! Thank you Lord for Your mercy and second chances!

I want to encourage you to not take the road of the world, but follow God's road on His journey for your life and avoid the heartaches.


How did Balaam react?
  • He admitted that he had sinned. (verse 34)
  • He said he did not realize Jesus was standing in the road to oppose him.
  • If Jesus was displeased, Balaam would go back.
Jesus told Balaam to go with the men, but speak only what He told him. (verse 35)
So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Did you know there are at least 7 separate occasions in the Bible when an individual has been forced to say these three words: I HAVE SINNED?
Those men were:
  1. Pharaoh (Ex. 9:27)
  2. Achan (Joshua 7:20)
  3. Saul (1 Samuel 26:21)
  4. David (2 Sam. 12:13)
  5. Job (Job 7:20)
  6. Judas (Matt. 27:4)
  7. the prodigal son (Luke 15:2)
Only three (David, Job, and the prodigal son) really meant it and experienced the forgiveness of God, it seems. (Falwell)

Balak seems to have rebuked Balaam for not immediately coming when he was summoned by Balak. Again, Balaam warns that he can only speak what God allowed him to say. (verse 38) Balak gave a great feast for Balaam and the princes (verse 40) and took him out to view Israel.

The main lesson here is to find the will of God and obey it, regardless of personal desires or subsequent circumstances.  (Wiersbe)

In the next two chapters, we will discuss the four visions God gave Balaam concerning Israel.


Set aside my wants, desires, way of doing God's will and follow Him.

Repent whenever I have rebelled and gone my own way.

Admit I have sinned, seeking God's forgiveness.

Surrender to God's will.

Trust Him through the consequences.

Pray for others and encourage them when they go through the same thing.

Lovingly point them to Jesus.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Talking Donkey

O. T. # 348  "A Talking Donkey"
August 21, 2014
Numbers 22-Part 2
And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?  Numbers 22:28


Are you old enough to remember the talking horse, Mr. Ed? We have been watching some reruns of that show seen in my childhood. That horse could get his owner into some predicaments, yet they continue to carry on conversations.
Today's story continues with Balaam, who encounters his donkey talking to him with some good advice. It can be a funny story, yet sadly enough, we are like Balaam at times, rebellious.

Here we are, in the middle of a mess. We read about Balak, king of Moab, allied with the Midianites, desiring to annihilate the Israelites. Realizing that physical force would not defeat the Jews, he resorted to spiritual deception by trying to hire Balaam, a pagan prophet, to curse Israel. Twice Balak sent messengers to Balaam with a bribe for his purpose to be achieved.

Deep in his heart, Balaam wanted to go with the messengers because he was greedy of gain. This is "the way of Balaam" (2 Peter 2:15-16), using religion as a means of getting wealth. God permitted Balaam to go with the princes, but He did so only to test him (verses 20-22). (Wiersbe)

So that is where we pick up the story, God permits Balaam to meet with Balak, with the stipulation that Balaam only says what God wanted him to say.
Here comes the most unique method of God, an amazing and amusing story:
  • Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. (verse 21) (Remember, he is on his way to meet with the king who wants Balaam to curse Israel.)
  • God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. (verse 22)
  • Balaam had his two servants with him. (verse 22)
  • When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD (Jesus) standing in the road with a drawn sword in His hand, she turned off the road into a field. (verse 23)
  • Balaam beat the donkey to get her back on the road. (verse 23)
Why didn't Balaam stop to consider what was happening? He didn't see the angel of the LORD with a sword standing in the road. Stick with me in the detail, friends. The story gets more interesting. It's too good to skim over with a summary.
  • Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. (verse 25)
  • When the donkey saw Him, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam's foot against it.
  • Balaam beat the donkey a second time. (verse 25)
  • Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, neither to the right nor to the left. (verse 26)
  • When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD (Jesus), she lay down under Balaam.
  • Balaam beat the donkey a third time with his stick. (verse 27)
  • The LORD opened the donkey's mouth and asked Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" (verse 28)
  • Furious Balaam talked to his frightened animal saying, "You have mocked me (made a fool of me). If I had a sword, I'd kill you right now." (verse 29)
  • Again this terrified donkey spoke to his master, "Am I not your donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" (verse 30)
  • "No. " Balaam answered, still carrying on a conversation with his donkey. (verse 30)
  • Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD (Jesus) standing in the road with His sword drawn.
  • So Balaam bowed low and fell facedown. (verse 31)
We are going to stop there, concluding next time. What lessons we have to learn from this unusual story recorded for us in God's Word. I believe it actually happened as it says.


Can we learn from others' mistakes, even their sinful ways? How can we apply this to our life?
Here is what I concluded:
  • The Angel of the Lord was a manifestation of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He was equated with deity (Gen. 16:7, 18:1-2; Ex. 3:1-6). (MacArthur)
  • The angel of the LORD is, in fact, a preincarnate appearance of Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. The New Testament indicates that no man has ever seen God the Father (1 Timothy 6:16). (Falwell)
  • If we know God's will for our life, we should follow it and do God's will His way, not our way.
  • God knew Balaam's motive was not right; he was not yet submissive to what God required. (MacArthur)
  • God permits us to go our own way in order to learn a lesson that we won't forget.
  • God sees us when we are on the wrong road, on the wrong path, and in a narrow place by our own choosing.
  • Sometimes God has to pen us in, get us between a rock and a hard spot, crush our strong will, break our heart, before we fall down before God and repent of our sins.
  • What does it take for God's rebellious child to turn to God in repentance? Does a donkey have to speak to us, to get us to listen to God, to get our attention?
  • The Lord allowed Balaam to see things as they really are. Not all things are as they appear. Do our spiritual eyes need to be opened in order to see the obvious will of God for us? Especially when we are on the wrong road, path, way?


Stop going my own way and get on the King's road for my life.

Obey His will and directions. When God says no, accept it.

Repent of my sins before I get between that rock and hard spot.

Pray for Christians out of God's will.

Ask for God's mercy.

Remember, nothing is beyond God's capabilities. After all, He can make a donkey talk.

Keep the faith.

Don't go the way of Balaam.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Second Time

O. T. #347  "A Second Time"
August 20, 2014
Numbers 22-Part 1
If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them: but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. Numbers 22:20b


When we don't get the answer we desire from God, what do we do? Do we continue to ask Him for it? Do we want that permissible answer? Even if the thing is not in our best interest? We are not along. One of our main characters in today's story did the same, and he was a pagan prophet. Read on.

Our focus is turned from Israel's conquering the land to two main characters, a pagan prophet called Balaam and king of Moab, Balak.

His oracles reassert the faithfulness of the Lord to the Abrahamic covenant and His purpose to bless Israel. In verses 2-40, the events leading to Balaam's words are recorded. This is followed in 22:41-24:24 with the words of his prophecies and the conclusion in 24:25. (MacArthur)

You will recall that the Moabites were descendants of Lot (Gen.19:36-37). This king had seen how Israel destroyed the Amorites. He didn't know that God forbid Israel from attacking Moab, so he was terrified that the same could happen to him and his people (Deut. 2:9).
Because of this fear toward Israel, Balak contacted the Midianites to join them in an alliance to defeat Israel. The Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah (Gen. 19:36-37).

Sounds like Balak was afraid his country would be the next victim of Israel's string of victories. He was smart enough to figure out that Israel could not be stopped by military force, so he tried satanic witchcraft of a sort.

Getting back to Balaam, he practiced magic and divination (24:1). He is identified as a false prophet later in Scriptures (Deut. 23:3-6) King Balak knew that Israel was too strong militarily to defeat, so he used a different tactic. Balak called for Balaam to come and curse Israel.

In Hebrew, our word  for curse has two words. Appearing in verses 6 and 12, the Hebrew word arar (aw-rar') means to execrate; bitterly curse. Appearing in verses 11 and 17, the Hebrew word qabab (kaw-bab') means to scoop; malign; stab with words; to execrate; curse. (Strong's Concordance)

What happened?
  • Balak sent messengers to Balaam, saying that Israel had too many people and settled next to him.
  • Israel was too powerful for him.
  • He asked Balaam to come and put a curse on Israel.
  • Perhaps then Balak could defeat Israel and drive them out of the country.
  • Balak believed those who Balaam blessed would be blessed and those he cursed were cursed.
  • The elders of Moab and Midian went to Balaam with a bribe, a fee for the divination.
  • Balaam told the bribers to stay the night and he would bring back the answer that the LORD gave him.
  • God came to Balaam and asked him who those men were. (As if God needed to be informed.)
  • Balaam told God who they were.
What instructions did God give to Balaam in verse 12? Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.

What happened next?
  • Balaam told Balak's princes to return to their own country, for the LORD had refused to let Balaam to with them. And they did just that.
  • Balak sent more numerous and distinguished princes to Balaam with another message.
  • The message included: Don't let anything keep you from coming to me, because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.
What God says goes. He expects us to obey His commands. Some people do not desire to please God but themselves. Did you notice that the evil one was persistent?

Why are we not that persistent to do good, Kingdom work and seeking the Lord?


What was Balaam's response?
  • Even if Balak gave Balaam his palace filled with silver and gold, he could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the LORD his God.
  • Balaam told the messengers to spend the night and he would find out what else the LORD would tell him.
  • With a second request and a second prayer, God answered Balaam a second time: Go with them, but do only what I tell you.
As a pagan prophet, Balaam would anticipate making contact with the gods of any people. He did not have a saving relationship with Israel's God. (MacArthur)

I am going to stop right there. Are we as persistent as Balak was? Even when we are sent on a mission by God, do we seek help in achieving His purpose? Do we pray about it like Balaam did?
Are we obedient when God tells us not to go or not to do something? Or, are we obedient when He does tell us to do such and such? Do we speak only what God tells us to speak?

Things to ponder. We will continue this event tomorrow. Be sure to join us.


Study God's Word so I know what He says to me about specific situations.

If an answer to pray is NO, then accept it.

Go and do what God tells me to do.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How do You React When NO is the Answer?

O. T. #346  "How do You React When NO is the Answer?
August 19, 2014
Numbers 21-Part 4
And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not, for I have delivered him into thy hand...
Numbers 21:34


Have you have heard no for an answer lately? Maybe it was the answer to a prayer, a job advancement, a spouse's decision, a physical test, or just life. How did you take it? Was your reaction  accepting, rejecting, or nonchalant? Israel had a no answer. How did they deal with it?

Moses had a mountain top experience viewing Palestine from Mt. Pisgah. Of course, he had to come down to where the people were. Often, when we have a mountain top experience with the Lord, we have to leave and go serve in the valley where the world and opposing people are.
Israel asked the Amorites the same favor they had earlier asked of the Edomites-let me pass through thy land. The two answers were the same-NO. In fact, both groups came to Israel and attacked them. (Israel was victorious against the Canaanites.)

Israel did not take no for an answer. They had turned away from the Edomites. This time, Israel fought back and won, taking over the Amorites' land. Verse 25 says, Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them...

Verses 26 and 27 give the historical facts on which the poem in verses 27-30 is based. The essence of the poem is, "You Amorites have beaten the Moabites, but we Israelites have beaten you."  (Falwell)

When you see armies of problems marching toward you, cry out to Me! Allow Me to fight for you. Watch Me working on your behalf, as you rest in the shadow of My Almighty Presence.
(Jesus Calling, a daily devotional book by Sarah Young)

Here was the second victory for Israel. Two out of three isn't bad. How is our rate in fighting the giants in your life?


Here we go again. Israel is confronted by Og, the king of Bashan, in battle. (verses 34-35)

This pagan giant is said to have slept in an iron bed measuring 12' x 6' (Deut. 3:11). This does not mean Og was that tall, because warriors normally had beds constructed which were somewhat longer than their stature. But he was a giant, and Moses mentions the size of the bed to illustrate the great victory which the Lord had given them. Og is mentioned other times in the Old Testament: Joshua 2:10; 1 Kings 4:19; Neh. 9:22; Ps. 135:11, 136:20. (Falwell)

What did God tell Moses in verse 34?
  • Fear not.
  • I have delivered him into your hand, and all his people, and his land.
  • Thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
Did these words sound like heavenly music to the Israelites? It had been a while since the Lord proclaimed He would give them victory. And so it happened-no survivors, land conquered.

Are you trusting God to give you victory over a giant in your life? Fear not, friend. He delivered Israel, God can deliver you, His child. Keep praying by faith. Pray for wisdom, peace, blessings, victory. Then give God the glory when it comes.

If "no" is heard, maybe it is for our good and God's glory. Could it be His mercies in disguise?
Continue to walk by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11)


Walk by faith.

Trust God for the victory against my giants.

Give Him the glory for it.

If no is my answer, accept it as the best He has for me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I am so Excited!!!

O. T. #345  "I am so Excited!!!
August 18, 2014
Numbers 21-Part 3
Gather the people together and I will give them water. The Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it.  Numbers 21:16c-17


I was so excited that I could hardly speak! I won two free tickets plus dinner, to hear one of my favorite authors speak on her new book. It is Lysa TerKeurst. I was one of the designated callers on our local Christian radio, who offered the prize. (If I have already told this, please forgive me.) Did I say I was excited! And get this, the place where she will appear is only 20 miles from me.
Let me back up. I had heard about this special offer the week before. So I told the Lord that I would buy me a ticket if He would  let me win so I could take a friend, free. Oh, did I mention it was two free tickets? Yes, I am taking two of my friends with me. I have already bought my ticket, keeping my end of the agreement. What a blessing! I was singing His praises all day long.
I wonder if Israel was that excited.

Spring up O well! Israel sang this song recorded in verses 17-18. God gave Israel water. That was a time to rejoice. It had been a very long time since the children of Israel sang unto the Lord (Ex. 15:1).

Do we have those dry spells in our spiritual life and finally the well overflows. Isn't it a joyous time! Our heart sings throughout the day, without us even noticing it. Awe, blessings.

I recall a fun song we sang at camp with the children, which we called The Gush Song:
Spring up O well, down in my soul.
Spring up O well, and make me whole.
Spring up O well, and give to me,
That life abundantly.
(After each word "well", we jumped up and wave our arms and hands in the air like water is gushing out of a well.)
Gush! Gush! Gush! Gush!

Have you had a joyous time recently? Has the Lord blessed you, overflowing? Won't you share it with us?


Marching on, marching on, for Christ count everything but loss; to crown Him King, we'll toil and sing, beneath the banner of the cross. I had not thought of that song in a long while. It came to my mind when I read about Israel marching on (verses 10 to the end of chapter 21).

The death of Aaron marks the end of Israel's wanderings. From this point on (latter part of chapter 20), the nation either marched or halted, but did not wander. It should be noted here that the wilderness experience, but not the wanderings, was originally in the perfect will of God for Israel (Ex.13:17,18). (Falwell)

Little is recorded about the years spent in the wilderness, Israel waiting for the designated forty to pass, as well as those old rebellious generation. They are almost gone, except Moses is still alive and leading. Well, Israel went from wandering to warfare.
You will recall that Israel had to travel 50 extra miles, going around Edom, since the king would not allow them passage through their land. 
Also, Israel was not allowed to attack Edom, Moab, or Ammon; they were blood relatives. (Gen. 32:3; 36:6-8).

Illustrated Bible Handbook, by Lawrence O. Richards, states:
After a long southern detour to avoid Edom, Israel turns north again. Moab has also been avoided by God's command (Deut. 2:9). but now, to reach Canaan, Israel must cross the land of the Amorites. Request for free passage is made and refused. Israel destroys the Amorite army and occupies their cities. The neighboring land of Bashan is also overrun, giving Israel possession of Transjordan, the lands east of the Jordan River. A policy of total destruction of the enemy is established by God.

Verses 10-20 records Israel's marched from Mt. Hor to Mt. Pisgah, the burial sites of Aaron and later Moses. The Peak of Pisgah is where Moses got a peek at the Promised Land. The elevation of the mountain allowed Moses to view what was his dream of a lifetime, a life-fulfilling vision, as Falwell described it. What joy and peace he must have experienced as Moses saw that which God had promised so many years earlier.

Isn't it a joyful time when our wayward child finally comes home? How about when one of God's wayward children returns back to Him?


Let the joy of the Lord spring up in me.

Sing His praises throughout the day.

Stand on the mountain (spiritually speaking) and see God fulfill His promises.

Friday, August 15, 2014


O. T. #344  "Snake!"
August 15, 2014
Numbers 21-Part 2
And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  Numbers 21:6


Snake! One morning my granddaughter and I were headed out the back door for her to play outside. She opened the door, standing in front of me and yelled it out, "SNAKE!"  I looked down in the corner where the door meets the wall in time to see a blue-tailed lizard come in under the door. Her yelling must have scared the little thing because it turned right around and exited the same place it entered. We have yet to see it again! Thank the Lord it was only a lizard! Two snakes this summer for me to encounter by the house is enough for me.
I know, that is not the same thing as being bitten by a snake, as some of the Israelites were. Read on to find out what happened to them.

Perhaps a victory dance in verse 3? Then Israel is back on the road again. The new generation is headed to their Promised Land. Only thing is, it is an extra 50 miles around Edom. The king wouldn't let them pass through his land. Israel does not do well on road trips, I have discovered.
(I know, here I am reading this in my comfortable chair under air conditioning and judging them.)

Verse 4 tells us that the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. (KJV)

NLT says, But the people grew impatient with the long journey.

In the Hebrew, discouraged means to dock off, curtail, especially to harvest, cut down, much discouraged, grieve, lothe, mourn.

So what happened?

The people spake against God and against Moses in verse 5:
*Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness? There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna! (NLT)
*Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! and we detest this miserable food! (NIV)

Honestly, are these slow learners or what? Every time they grumble and complain, they pay for it. God didn't put up with it with their fathers and He won't put up with it with them.

Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary explains:
The people's impatience led them to despise the manna (11:6). These snake bites inflicted a fiery inflammation. The people confessed their iniquity and asked that they might be released from the judgment God had sent. (verses 5-7)
Is that us written here in black and white? When I have to go out of my way, I complain. Even when it puts me on the King's highway, doing His will and work. Am I a slow learner of life's lessons or what? If we are stuck in traffic or on a detour, do we pray for others?


The people spoke against God and Moses. Because of this, they were dying. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death.

Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament says:
Here we have the two aspects of the Law of God: behavior toward God and behavior toward one another. Because of sin, death is in the world and all are condemned (John 3:16-18). Every person born into this world has been bitten by the fiery serpent of sin and is destined to die. God could have ignored his people's plight, for they deserved to die, but in His love and grace He provided a remedy. the intercession of Moses in verse 7 reminds us of the prayer of Christ, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
The people admitted that they had sinned. Next, they ask Moses to pray for the LORD to remove the snakes. Scripture does not say God removed the snakes immediately, does it?
The LORD told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. And so it happened. Moses did and Israel was.

The serpent of brass pictures Christ, who became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Brass is the metal that speaks of judgment, and on the cross, Christ bore our judgment for us. Christ had to be crucified, lifted up (John 3:14, 8:28, 12:30-33).

Jesus said in John 3:14-15: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Jesus said in John 12:32, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

The sting of death was removed from the Israelites by faith, an act of will. Looking and living. It wasn't by ignoring the bites, beating the snakes, applying medicine, or running away that healing came. Salvation came through looking by faith to the uplifted serpent in the center of the camp
(Is. 45:22). (Wiersbe)

If we will look to Christ, believe He is the Savior, we will we. Just believe and live.
People are still dying in sin. The only answer is the cross of Jesus Christ, the uplifted Savior.
Have you, friend?


Look to Jesus and live.

Thank Jesus for being my Savior.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sweet Victory!

O. T. #343  "Sweet Victory!"
August 14, 2014
Numbers 21
They utterly destroyed them and their cities.  Numbers 21:3c


How many football games have we watched when our team, the underdog, made that winning touchdown at the last minute? Or the basketball was sunk at the buzzer of a basketball game, giving us the victory? Aren't we on our feet cheering, better yet, yelling with excitement? I wonder if Israel felt the same way when they experienced victory.

The LORD harkened to the voice of Israel. Not only did He harken, listened, but He also delivered up the Canaanites. Did you catch that? Who delivered the enemies into Israel's hands? God did it. The victory was the LORD's. This new generation of Israelites experienced God working for them. Surely, they gave God the glory for the victory!

Do we give God the glory when we experience His working and victory in our life? Oh, those spiritual battles. They are long and hard, leaving scars! They can only be won in Jesus' name. In the name of Jesus Satan and His demons must flee.
Give Jesus the glory!


We won!!!  How excited Israel must have been to experience their first victory since Kadesh.
What happened?
  • Canaan's King Arad heard Israel was coming their way.
  • He fought against Israel.
  • He took some of the Israelites as prisoners.
  • Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD: If God would give them victory, they would utterly destroy the Canaanite cities. It was a vow of faith to God, which was probably the secret of their success. Sweet victory!
  • This major city became known as Hormah.
Do you recall what previously happened at Hormah? This was significant in that Hormah was the place the Israelites had previously been defeated (Numbers 14:45). Remember, after they refused to go into the Promised Land following the spies' reports, Israel decided to go on their own, too late for God's blessings. Well, the Amalekites and Canaanites which dwelt there smote them and discomfited them at Hormah. Now you recall it, don't you?

I don't read of any victory celebration. They journeyed again. We will pick it up next time. How quickly we forget God's blessings. An our faith wavers like Israel.

Are you ready for a victory over a problem, an issue, that is long over due? Keep praying, friend. It is just around the corner.


Submit to God.

Give Him the glory for blessings and victories.

Hallelujah to the Lord of Heaven and Earth!

Keep the faith.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

May I Ask a Favor of Your???

O. T. #342  "May I Ask a Favor of You???
August 13, 2014
Numbers 20-Part 3
And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom...  Numbers 20:14


Have you had a person, who hurt you or who took advantage of you, not a favorite friend, ask you a favor? I found it difficult to help them, but I did it anyway. Or perhaps the table was turned and you had to ask that person to do you a favor. What happened?

This chapter is filled with so much-Miriam and Aaron die, and Moses is not allowed into the Promised Land due to his disobedience. Haven't we all been there? We loose our way, take a wrong turn, stumble into sin, then finally get out in time to reap the consequences of it. Or maybe we have fallen into a mud hole of depression. Perhaps we had mud slung on us, hurtful words, those which keep ringing in our head. Then they have the gall to ask a favor of us. Huh! After what you/ your family did to me/my family, you want this favor? How many times must I turn my cheek, just to get it hit again? REALLY, Lord??? Love my enemies? I know. Change my heart. Wellll, all right. After all, You did that while on the cross to your enemies. You forgave them. Help me forgive and love again today.

We pick up in verse 14 where Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom. You see, Israel was camped on the edge of their land, wanting to pass through their land since it was the nearest and shortest route to Canaan. They were sort of begging for a passport.

Here is some historical background you may recall. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, whom God renamed Israel. Esau sold his firstborn birthright  for a bowl of stew to his brother Jacob. (Genesis 25:30 tells us Esau's name was changed to Edom.) Also, Jacob pretended to be Esau, thus obtaining the blessings of God from his father Isaac, Abraham's son. The Abrahamic  covenant included land, see, and blessing. About ten years later, Jacob reconciles the differences with brother Esau (Gen. 32-34). I suppose that the stories continued to be handed down throughout the generations. Maybe that is why Israel was denied passage through Edom.

Edom included the area south of the Dead Sea. When the request was denied, it forced Moses and the Israelites to travel over 50 additional miles of hot, barren, and hostile desert. (Falwell)

Every king has the right to refuse passage through his territories to any strangers. The Edomites of Kadesh were unfriendly and cruel. (Clarke)

The messengers were sent to ask this favor of the king of Edom with the persuasive words:
  • Our fathers became mistreated slaves in Egypt. The Lord sent an angel (actually Jesus) to deliver  Israel.
  • Please let us pass through your country.
  • We will not go through any field or vineyard.
  • Nor will we drink water from any well.
  • We will travel along the king's highway. (first mentioned)
  • We will not turn tight or turn left until we have passed through your territory.
  • After the king refused, the Israelites offered to pay if their people drank any of the water, only passing through on foot, staying on the main road.
To that, the king sent out his large and powerful army. Israel turned away from the Edomites.

A highway was a thoroughfare (as a turnpike), a path.

The king's highway referred to public roads, common to all his subjects, travelers to walk in by his allowance. (Henry)

The king's highway was a public road made by the king's authority at the expense of the state. (Clarke)

This king's highway was the major north-south trade route from the Gulf of Aqabah north to Damascus, which passed through the Edomite city of Sela.  (MacArthur)


Jesus is the King of Christians, His believers and followers. He has provided the path for us to walk. He paid the toll, death on the cross, which was required by God. He paved the way for us, freely to walk on it. We are to be walking on the straight and narrow path, living His way. The question is: Are we? Do we sometimes veer to the right or left?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:14, Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Friend, have you found the narrow way?

Jesus commands us in Luke 14:23: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.

Are we going? Are we inviting people to the Lord's house for worship and Bible study?

In John 14:6, Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

His way leads to heaven. Are we headed in that direction? This world is not our home, we're just passing through. Will we bring other with us?


Forgive and love again my enemies, those who don't like me.

Stay on King Jesus' highway for my life.

Follow His path for my life, not turning away into sin.

Bring others with me to heaven.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To Speak or To Strike

O. T. #341  "To Speak or To Strike"
August 12, 2014
Numbers 20-Part 2
And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.  Numbers 20:11


Do we speak or strike? Do we let irritations grow into indignation, developing into wrath, violent fury, and loosing control in a rage? Who controls our temper? Do we pray, asking for the Holy Spirit to control us? What will it take for us to loose it today?

Here we go again. The people were grumbling against Moses for their living conditions. They played the blame game. Problem: no water.
Why? Why? Why?
  • If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! (Which ones, the 250 or the 17,700?)
  • Why did you bring the LORD's community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here?
  • Why did you bring us out of Egypt to this terrible place?
  • It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates.
  • There is no water to drink!
Such whining people. Moses and Aaron didn't reply. Perhaps they knew it would not do any good. So they went to the tabernacle and fell face down. The glory of the LORD appeared.
What were their directions?
  • Take the staff.
  • Moses and Aaron gather the assembly together.
  • Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.
  • You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.
So they did and all was well, watered that is. No, it didn't go as God directed.

Even Moses, the great Hebrew leader, had his fits of uncontrolled anger. (Swindoll)

What about us? Does anger get the better of us?


Because of the Israelites unbelief, they wandered in the hot, dry desert an extra 38 years (Mt. Sinai and Kadesh included the other 2 years).

Moses had a track record of his hot temper erupting:
  1. When an Egyptian beat a fellow Hebrew, Moses killed the Egyptian.
  2. He departed from Pharaoh in hot anger (Ex. 11:8b). It was the tenth plague.
  3. Coming down the Mt. Sinai holding the tablets, Moses saw the dancing around an idolatrous golden calf. (Ex. 32:15-19a)In righteous indignation, he threw the tablets to the ground, shattering them.
I am not trying to justify Moses' actions and rebellion. Just put another perspective on this. He was human like us.

How did Moses openly disobey God's instructions?
  • Moses allowed his anger to burst out of control.
  • He called the Israelites rebels.
  • He asked, Must we fetch water out of this rock? (In Ex. 17:6, Moses struck the rock and water came out.)
  • Moses struck the rock twice with the rod.
Moses, the earth's meekest man (12:3), loses control of himself, screams out at the carnal crowd, and disobeys God, not only by hitting the rock, but by smashing it twice.  (Falwell)

In spite of Moses' disobedience, water came out abundantly, so the people and their animals all drank.

This tragic incident had serious percussions:
Because Moses did not trust God enough to honor Him as holy in the sight of the Israelites, Moses would not bring them into the Promised Land. (verse 12)

This miracle would have pointed to the power of God. Moses turned the people's focus from the Lord and onto himself. (Swindoll)

Moses failed to take God at His Word and, thus, to treat Him as holy to the people. God's judgment of Moses for his sin of striking the rock was that he would not take Israel into the land of Canaan.

In many places in Scripture, God is pictured as a Rock; 1 Cor. 10:4 makes it clear that the Rock in Exodus and Numbers is a picture of Christ. God told Moses to smite the rock, (Ex. 17), picturing our Lord's death on the cross. Here he told Mosses to speak to the rock, for Jesus Christ died but once. Moses used Aaron's rod, the priestly rod of life, not his own. Christ our rock has risen from the dead; He is our living High Priest; He gives us the spiritual blessings we need as we ask for them. We don't need to be saved over and over, nor does the gift of the Holy Spirit have to be repeated. We receive the Spirit once when we trust Christ; we receive fillings of the Spirit many times as we come to Christ and ask. Unless we glorify God in all that we do, god will deal with us and we will miss the blessing He has planned for us.  (Wiersbe)

God is as concerned with the way He performs His will as He is in the actual will itself.  Moses would be allowed to see the land (Deut. 27:12-14) before his death, and visit it fourteen centuries after his death (Matt. 33:37). (Falwell)


Your will, Your way, today, I pray.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Death of 3 in 1 Family in 1 Year

O. T. #340  "Death of 3 in 1 Family in 1 Year"
August 11, 2014
Numbers 20
... and Miriam died there, and was buried there.  Numbers 20:1d


Do you have any siblings who have died before you? So far, my sister, who turns 70, and my brother, who turns 67, this year, are still living. However, back in 1980, my husband's little brother drowned in a lake at age 20. Death can bring a family closer or wedge it apart. Which will it be for you? Which was it for Moses' family?

There was no special deal, arrangement, nor exceptions for the family of Moses with the LORD. All of the generation 20 years and older would die in the wilderness, except for Joshua and Caleb. (Numbers 14:30) (Guzik)

All three, Miriam, Aaron, and Moses, died in a space of one year. Miriam was first to die, at age 130,  four months before Aaron died, (Numbers 33:38), and eleven months before Moses died at age 120 (Deut. 34).

What does Guzik say about the life of Miriam?
  • She showed  great courage in assisting baby Moses and her parents. (Ex. 2:4-8)
  • She lead Israel in praise to God. (Ex. 15:20-21)
  • However, she is disgraced for her rebellion against Moses. (Numbers 12:1-16)
The one incident of rebellion left a black mark on Miriam's whole life, though she was white with leprosy.
What are we going to be remembered for-our good or bad deeds?


In this chapter, we read of the parting of two dear brothers. It was time for Aaron was to die.

David Guzik described Aaron's life as:
  • being used mightily as Moses' partner (in serving the Lord)( Exodus 4:27-31);
  • used to initiate the priesthood (Lev. 8:1-36);
  • used to plead with Moses for the people (before God) (Numbers 6:1-50, 17:1-13);
  • an instrumental in the grotesque debacle of the golden calf (Ex. 32:1-35),
  • and in challenging Moses' authority along with Miriam (Num. 12:1-16).
Aaron's life shows the office is more important than the man himself. Aaron the man wasn't worthy of respect, but Aaron the high priest was worthy of honor. No one's relationship with God in Israel was to depend on Aaron but on the high priest-whomever he was. God has ensured there will always be a high priest for us to come to in Jesus (Heb. 4:14-16) and we need not depend on any man for our relationship with God.

Aaron submits and dies in the method and manner appointed, with much cheerfulness as if he would have been going to bed. He was neither afraid nor ashamed to die. His going up the hill to die signified that the death of saints is their ascension. (Matthew Henry)

Moses represents the law, Miriam represents the prophets, and Aaron represents the priests, which could not lead Israel into the Promised Land. Only Joshua, JESUS, could do that.

(Moses' death is described in Deuteronomy 34.)

Is our faithfulness to God going to outweigh our unfaithfulness?
Are we ready to let go of this life for the one in eternity? Have you made preparation for your day in which you die? In order to go to heaven, you must know Jesus as your Savior, for He is the Way.


Prepare to cross over into eternity.

Love people to Jesus while I am waiting.

Be sure my siblings are ready to go.

Friday, August 8, 2014


O. T. #339  "Purity"
August 8, 2014
Numbers 19 is a purification for sin.  Numbers 19:9d


Purity is not a popular subject anymore. A person must determine that they will stay pure before marriage. It is hard in our society to keep pure thoughts. Immorality is so often portrayed on television as the norm. It is a difficult thing for a Christian to remain pure throughout the day and night. So we must teach our younger generation the pure way of God's Word. Israel had a problem with purity, only a different kind.

As the result of almost 18,000 Israelites dying due to their rebellion and God's judgment of such, those bodies had to be touched for burial. During the next period of 38 years, (2 had passed with the 40 year discipline), more than 1,200,000 would die so the Israelites would continually be in contact with dead bodies. This lead to ceremonial uncleanness. So the Lord provided a way of purification, cleansing those who came in contact with dead bodies.

The rite of the red heifer was God's solution to the problem. It involved:
  • A reddish, brown young cow (heifer) without spot, blemish, and not a yoke upon it was to be offered. (verse 2)
  • Eleazar, son of Aaron and deputy high priest, was in charge of slaughtering the red cow outside the camp, with its owner watching. Its ashes were stored there as well.(verse 3)
  • The heifer's blood was to be sprinkled toward the tabernacle 7 times. (verse 4)
  • It was to be burned along with cedar, wood, hyssop, and some scarlet cloth material. (verses 5-6)
  • Water was to be added to the ashes of the heifer and sprinkled upon the defiles Israelite. (verse 17-19)
  • This was the purification for sin.

Webster's Dictionary defines purify as to free from guilt or moral or ceremonial blemish.

Aren't we glad that we don't have to keep those laws as a New Testament believer? Jesus became our sacrifice for our sins.


An unclean person:
  •  would be unclean for 7 days.
  • If the unclean person does not purify himself with that water on the third and seventh days, he would be unclean.  
  • Touching a dead body and not purifying himself defiles the LORD's tabernacle.
  • That unclean person must be cut off from Israel; his uncleanness remains on him.
Others considered unclean include:
  • those in a tent when one dies there;
  • touching one killed with a sword or died a natural death out in the open;
  • anyone who touches a human bone or a grave.
Verses 17-20 tells how to purify such an unclean person. Any person, not just a priest, could sprinkle the unclean with the purification water.
The man who sprinkled the water of cleansing must wash his clothes. If a person touched the water of cleansing would be unclean till evening. Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean and anyone who touches it becomes unclean until evening.

Perhaps we need to consider who we hang around.

In Titus 2, it says, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.

When we ask forgiveness of our sins, Jesus purifies our heart. Have you asked Him to purify your heart?


Purify my heart, Lord. Cleanse me from my sins, deep within.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


O. T. #338  "Reassurance"
August 7, 2014
Numbers 18 is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.
Numbers 18:19


Who doesn't need reassurance? There are times that I need reassurance that I am doing God's will, serving Him in the right place and right way. Especially when hard times come, people complain, and turn away, I need it. I wonder if the Levites needed it, too.

Oh my, we had such a terrifying sight of the rebellion of Korah and the other two who were swallowed up by the earth, and then those 250 following Levites who were destroyed by the dreadful flames of fire. One would think the rebellion had ended in Israel, but they blamed Moses for those deaths happened again. That time, their murmuring resulted in 17,700 of the Israelites complainers died by a plague. You will recall that Aaron made atonement for the people, standing in the gap between the living and the dead. The plague stopped. The rebellion was against the authority of Moses and Aaron and ultimately God's authority. God settled it when He caused Aaron's rod to bud, blossom, and produce almonds.

Thus ends the account of one of the most infamous troublemakers in biblical history. The author Jude would later refer to this tragic event. (Falwell)

Then the Lord spoke directly to Aaron, the high priest. Only here and Leviticus 10:8 is it mentioned that God did this. Maybe the Levites needed reassurance after the rebellion and death of some of their fellow Levite family that they were serving God in the ways that pleased Him.

According to The MacArthur Bible Commentary, the Levites were told:
  • Aaron and his sons were responsible for any offense against the holiness of the tabernacle or violations of the rules of priesthood. (verse 1)
  • Even though the priesthood demanded much, the priests were to view it as a gift from the Lord. (verse 7)
  • In return for their service to the Lord, the priests were to receive a portion of the offerings which the people presented in worship. (verses 8-20)
  • Priests could keep all the parts of the sacrifices not consumed on the altar by fire.
  • The offerings of firstfruits and everything devoted to the Lord were theirs as well.
  • The Levites received the tithes from the people. This was their source of income and compensation for their tabernacle service. (verse 21-24)
  • The Levites were required to present a tithe (a tenth) of what they received to the Lord. (verse 25-32)
The priests were still serving God in the tabernacle. Do we continue to faithfully serve God?


In verse 19, we read of the salt covenant. It is one of three methods of covenants found in the Old Testament that could be ratified. The first mentioned was the blood covenant (Gen. 15:17) and the shoe covenant (Ruth 4:7-9). As salt is incorruptible and everlasting, salt purifies and preserves, so was this covenant made with God.

Of all the gifts of God to the Levites (the services, responsibilities, tithes, and sacrifices of the tabernacle), this was the grandest of all: He gave Himself!  (Falwell)

God was the Levites' inheritance. What an inheritance! What a privilege to be chosen and used by God to carry out His commands. And to be used to provide the cleansing of the people of their sins through the sacrifices they killed and presented to God. The tribe of Levite was blessed.
Jesus is our New Testament blood covenant.

Do we pray for our family to be obedient to God's call and their blessings?


Serve God in ways that I know please Him.

Keep on keepin' on, staying faithful to the Faithful One.

Get my reassurance from God.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


O. T. #337  "Rods"
August 6, 2014
Numbers 17
... And behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. Numbers 17:8


Rods can have many purposes-correction, support for walking, ruling over others. Guess which use it was exemplified here in this chapter.

God had vindicated the political leadership of Moses. In this chapter, He will do the same for the religious leadership of Aaron. (Falwell)

The people had seen God's power in several ways-10 spies who gave an evil report and unbelief died of a plague, a battle lost due to presumption, the earth swallowing up the three rebels, their families, and possessions, 250 of Korah's rebellious followers were killed by fire from the Lord, a plague that killed 14,700, and Aaron stood between the dead and the living and the plague stopped.

God is all powerful and no one can stand in His way. No one will stop His will from being accomplished. Reading about those things should humble us before our El Shaddah, Almighty God.
Yet, the Israelites had not learned their lesson.

God is now going to declare once and for all the authority of the Aaronic priesthood. (Wiersbe)

He instructed Moses to have each tribe bring a rod-a dead stick with their name on it-to be placed before the Ark in the Tabernacle, as well as Aaron's rod labeled. God announced that the rod that blossomed would indicate the one He had chosen for the priesthood. God would make the murmurings of the children of Israel to cease against Aaron.

The word rod used here means, in Hebrew, a branch, a tribe, a rod for chastening (correction), ruling (septre), throwing (lace), or walking (a staff, a support of life).

I wonder if those leaders expected to see the rods turn into a snake and their own eat up the others, as they heard happened to Moses' rod and Pharaoh's sorcerers back in Egypt. At any rate, it did not happen.


God showed His chosen priest by a unique event:
  • The next morning, Moses went into the Tabernacle of Witness.
  • Moses saw Aaron's rod had budded.
  • Aaron's rod brought forth buds.
  • Aaron's rod bloomed blossoms.
  • Aaron's rod yielded almonds.
  • Moses brought out all the rods from the presence of the LORD and showed the Israelites.
  • The owners of the rods looked at the rods and each man took his own. (still dead rods) (verse 9)
  • The Lord instructed Moses to place Aaron's staff in front of the Testimony, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. 
  • The Lord put an end to their grumbling and they did not die.
Clearly, Aaron was appointed God's high priest.
Apparently this act shook up those leaders. They were afraid they would die, perish, for such an act. but it did not happen.

This episode, of course, lends itself to a spiritual application of Christ's glorious resurrection! (Falwell)

Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament explains:
By means of the Resurrection, God has declared that Christ is His Son and the only Priest that God accepts. All other priests are rejected by God. It matters not how many people are involved, how great their names, or how sincere their work-all other priesthoods are rejected. There is One High Priest, one sacrifice, and only one open way to heave; read Hebrews 10. We have many today like Korah who presume to take over the priesthood, but they have no heavenly authority.
Zechariah 4:6 states: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of Hosts.

Jesus is going to rule with an iron rod, septer. See Revelation 2:27, 19:15.

Are you ready, friends?


Accept God's authority and those He places in authority over me.

Submit to authorities, not rebel.

Accept God's rod of correction for me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Now, You

O. T. #336  "Now, You"
August 5, 2014
Numbers 16-Part 1
Now Korah...Numbers 16:1


Sadly, I admit that there have been times that I rebelled against God's authority and those He placed in authority over me. I wish someone would have said, "Now, Linda, think about what you are doing/saying/thinking/considering. Consider the consequences for you and others."
Perhaps someone should have said that to Korah and nearly 15,000 would not have died as a result of his sin of rebellion.

God had called Moses to be the leader of the nation of Israel and Aaron to their high priest. The men of the tribe of Levite was established as the priesthood for the people. God is holy and He requires His standards be carried out according to His ways and laws which He established. The Levites knew them.
In verses 46-50, the next day after the Korah incident, Moses sent Aaron, the high priest, to quickly burned incense and walked among the rebellious Israelites, making atonement for assembly of Israelites.
Verse 48 states, He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. 

Atonement means to cover, appease, forgive, pardon, purge away, cancel, condone, reconcile, in Hebrew.

God was so angry with the congregation that he sent a plague that killed 14,700 people before the atonement could get made. This was in addition to those who died due to Korah's rebellion.

Romans 5:11 states, And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Can you joy in the Lord Jesus for making atonement for you? Or have you not yet received this atonement? Simply ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and He will, dear one.

Romans 12:19 tells us that vengeance belongs to the Lord God so we should not avenge the person who did us wrong, nor be wrathful. Paul was referring to Deuteronomy 32:35.


Shall we back up to the beginning of this chapter to see what brought all this on?

Korah, a Levite, got 250 Israeli leaders to oppose Aaron as their high priest in a religious revolt. Also, Dathan and Abiram organized a political revolt against Moses as their leader.

The Kohathaites (of which Korah was a member) were assigned a very important task of caring for the tabernacle furniture (4:1-20). But he apparently coveted the office of the priesthood also, an office limited to Aaron and his sons. (Falwell)

They were slandering Moses making lying accusations against him-bringing them out of the land flowing with milk and honey, to die in the desert, and to set himself up as prince over them.

Moses left it all up to the Lord. Moses suggested that they all bring their incense burners and stand before the Lord for Him to  appoint the leader and high priest of Israel. God was going to immediately kill those rebels, but Moses intervened, asking why God should be angry with the entire assembly when only one sinned. God instructed the assembly to move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Those three men and their families were swallowed up by the ground as it split, closing over them. Then fire consumed the 250 men. As directed, Eleazar, Aaron's priestly son, emptied the censors held by the 250, hammered them into sheets to overlay the altar, and presented them to the Lord. It was the next day when the congregation grumbled against Moses and Aaron. Then Aaron took his censor, put incense and fire from the altar into it, and walked among the people, making atonement for them.

In name, number, unity, and attitude, those rebels seemed to have a strong case against Aaron and Moses. Their rebellion was based on their self-seeking and envy. They rejected God's Word and His prophet.  God placed people in positions as His willed. We are to use our spiritual gifts and offices for the work of the ministry, but not to covet another person's spiritual office. (See 1 Cor. 14:1,
1 Tim. 3:1, Acts 20:28-31, 2 Peter 2:10-22.) It is tragic when a few people sin and cause the deaths of many others. We are warned to not despise authority and rebel against God's truth. (Wiersbe)

Aaron literally became the Israelites' savior-he stood between the living and the dead and stayed the plague. His one censer accomplished more than the 250 censers of the rebels. Aaron illustrates the work of our Savior, for Christ left the place of safety to stand between the living and the dead and rescue sinners from death. (Wiersbe)

Are we willing to stand in the gap, to intercede for our loved ones, praying, so they can have spiritual life in Jesus Christ?


Submit to the authority God has placed over me.

Surrender to God's Word as truth and obey it.

Be content with what God calls me to do in serving Him.

Intercede for loved ones.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Free Tickets

O. T. #335  "Free Tickets"
August 4, 2014
Numbers 15-Part 2
That you may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. 
Numbers 15:40


In verse 41, God reminds Israel by saying, I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.

In Hebrew, the word LORD is Yhovah (Yeh-ho-vaw'), Jehovah, meaning Self-Existent or Eternal.

You will recall that Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 450 years. God brought the ten plagues upon Egypt, challenging their gods. Finally, the Pharaoh let the Israelites go into the desert to worship their God. He set two million people free. How powerful God showed Himself to His children. Jehovah provided for them while in the desert. He even gave them the Ten Commandments by which to live.

Has God brought you out of your Egypt, freed you from what held you slave to it? Has He broken those chains of sin for you to be free to worship and praise Him only? Is He still your God? Are you continuing to worship Him, love Him, and serve Him, obey Him?


Specific directions (verses 38-40) were given to the Israelites for the way they dressed and their diet. They were to not be conformed to the ways of the heathen. The tassels, fringe, blue hem on the bottom of their clothing served as a reminder of their heritage and the commandments of God. When tempted to sin, it would remind them of God's Words.

Our Savior, being made under the law, wore these fringes; hence we read of the them or border of his garment in Matthew 9:20. (Henry)

The woman with the issue of blood which lasted 12 years had enough faith to believe that if she only touched the hem of His garment, she would be made well. And so it was-her faith made her whole. Jesus healed the woman. What joy she must have experienced and expressed!

Just this week our Christian radio station was giving away two free tickets to hear well known author Lysa TerKeurst at a church only 20 miles from me. I called in three previous times, but did not win. Then the fourth time I called, I WON! I was so excited that I could hardly talk to give my address. Don't you know I did the happy dance! I could not contain the joy I felt.
Did I mention, I won 2 free tickets, valuing $50? My sister in law and I are going, friends. What a blessing from God! Our women's Bible study group has studied several of Lysa's books. We get to see and hear her in person! Now she has a new book coming out this month. Guess what I am buying-The Best Yes.

Are we willing to be set apart, recognizable as one of God's children? Will we obey God in His will for us? What about suffering ridicule for our Redeemer?


Keep the LORD God as my God, daily worshiping Him.

Thank Him for being my Deliverer.

Praise You, Sweet Jesus!

Friday, August 1, 2014

I'm Going to Do It Anyway

O. T. #334  "I'm Going to Do It Anyway"
August 1, 2014
Numbers 15
When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you. Numbers 15:2


It may not be right, but I'm going to do it anyway. What a statement or thought. Shamefully, I admit that there have been times that I did such a thing. Later, circumstances didn't turn out like I had planned and I was sorry for doing it. Then I sought God's forgiveness. I know that I missed out on the blessing of doing it God's way.

The LORD mentions twice in this chapter, after the rebellion and sin of unbelief at Kadesh, that He was still planning to bring the next generation into Canaan (verses 2 and 18). The people of this generation were given the option, the opportunity, to take the fruitful land which God promised to them, but they let fear dominate them. Of course, we know it happened with Joshua leading Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land, some forty years later.

We know that God keeps His promises. However, don't we sometimes have a difficult time applying it to us personally and now? His mercies are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness O Lord!


He reminded Israel that the former commands given at Sinai concerning offerings were still in effect. This chapter is a repeat of the requirements for the offerings.

Liberty Bible  Commentary states:
The alien (non-Israelite) person was welcome to worship the God of Abraham alongside the seed of Abraham and to receive His manifold blessings. The heave offerings stressed thanksgiving to God for His providence (verses 17-21). Verses 22-26 describe those offerings (burnt, meal, sin, drink) which were to be used for unintentional national sins. Verses 27-29 refer to offerings for the purpose of unintentional personal sin.

Let's look at a different kind of sin-presumptuous sin. Presumptuously means with a high hand. (Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible)
In Webster's Dictionary, it means overstepping due bounds (as property or courtesy): taking liberties.

These sins, committed knowingly and deliberately, were described as blasphemous because they were an arrogant act of insubordination against the Lord. (MacArthur)

For this kind of sin there was no sacrifice; however, God forgives after the sinner repents. An example is given of the account of a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath. Although the punishment of stoning to death seems harsh, unrest and rebellion continued to remain in the hearts of the Israelites at that time. Strictly enforced discipline was absolutely necessary, lest open anarchy took place.  [Reference: Liberty Bible Commentary]

Do we presumptuously commit sins, knowing that it is such? We count on God's grace to be there whenever we ask? Do we raise our hand high, doing something our own way, even though we know it is not God's will? Guilty.

Are we striving to please God or live in the flesh, pleasing ourselves?