Today’s readings are Numbers 21-22
🌿Interesting note: YHWH tells Moses to make a bronze serpent, put it on a pole, and the remaining Israelites that have been bitten will be healed. Moses does as told and then…
In 2 Kings we will see this serpent on a pole that YHWH, originally ordained by the Father, will be destroyed and its destruction is seen as good in the eyes of YHWH.
Why is that? Later on, the Israelites began burning incense to it and worshiping the symbol itself. Eek. A symbol the father gave that is eventually worshipped.
In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah[a] daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. 2 Kings 18:1
We see that Messiah compares himself to this serpent in John 3:14, it should give us pause and make sure we have not done or don’t do the same thing with the cross, which has become the primary symbol of Christianity. Addendum for clarity: We see that Messiah compares Himself to the serpent in John 3:14
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Separate but somewhat related, this brought to mind how the people ended up worshipping the symbol of the serpent on the pole rather than the creator. In some ways, we are in danger of doing the same when it comes to the symbol of the cross versus our Messiah. I’ve known a lot of people who treat the cross as a talisman and I admit I’ve done this myself in my life. We must be very careful not to fall into the same traps of our spiritual ancestors.
🌿Sidenote: an interesting (and sobering) rabbit trail is whether or not Messiah was crucified on a cross beamed cross or a single stake. It’s just something you can look into on your own time if you like. There will probably be just as many opinions for and against and it is certainly not a salvation issue, of course. Actually, most opinions will lean towards cross beam to support the cross symbol so I’d look for dissenting historical accounts to get a fuller picture. Here is a quick link to start you off should you choose to accept this mission. #themoreyouknow
🌿Balam’s Donkey fact – one of only two animals in the Bible to ever speak (Serpent in Garden is first).
As this is my busiest season on SouthernPlate.com, I have a few friends who have generously offered to help flesh out rabbit trails for us. Today, Debbie Ingle is stepping in with her rabbit trails to cover the spots mine didn’t.
🌿A study about the songs in 21:10-20 as Israel moved on to Moab (link below)
( Can any of you hear the old “spring up oh wells, splish splash” song from vacation Bible school here? ) Apparently, songs were part of the journey. Most of these songs have been lost to history, as the Book of the Wars of YHVH has been lost. I am reminded that the Psalms are also songs. The “aliyah” psalms 120-132 were sung as Israel “went up” to Jerusalem during the feasts of YHVH each year. Songs are such a great way to remember and teach. My guess is that you have easily memorized songs before. The Father seems to use them to help His children remember their history…His history.
🌿Israel is on the move…making progress toward their Promised Land, but they run into some resistance:
- King Sihon of of the Amorites. Scary guy. Defeated.✔
- King Og of Bashan. Scary guy. Also defeated.✔
“Do not fear him. I have given him with all his people and his land into your hand.” Numbers 21:34
Friends, we need to trust The Father. Move when He says move…scary or not. No. Fear.
🌿Balak is taking note, and he realizes that Moab could be in danger if Israel is allowed to continue unchecked. He seems unwilling to approach them militarily at this point (wonder why😉), so he and his elders decide the best plan of action is to call upon Balaam in order to have Israel properly cursed. Balek states that, “whoever you bless will be blessed and whoever you curse will be accursed!” (Num 22:6).
Does something about that sound familiar? (see Genesis 12:3) In Genesis, The God of Israel, Yehovah, states who He will bless and curse. In Numbers 22, Balek ascribes this power to Balaam. What can we learn about Balaam from this? *Hint: Think about authentic versus counterfeit.*
🌿It would appear that Balaam originally did try to rid himself of this request to curse Israel (Num 22:13). However, Balek and his elders prove to be a persistent bunch (Num 22:15).
🌿Yehovah eventually releases Balaam to go with the elders to Moab, but under a condition. “Since the men came to you to summon you, arise and go with them. However, only the word I tell you are you to do”(Num 22:20).
🌿This is where things get confusing. Yehovah tells Balaam to go, then becomes angry that Balaam went (21:22). What can we make of that? Well, Yehovah may have sensed that Balaam’s motives were impure. Perhaps Balaam intended to disobey the condition and curse Israel. I personally think that Balaam kept asking and kept asking, so Yehovah gave Balaam what he asked for…consequences and all.
Does that ever happen to us? Do we ever keep asking for something that is not in Yehovah’s will? Sometimes we find that the thing we ask for is not the thing that is best for us. I believe this is what Balaam is about to learn…
🌿Yehovah’s anger is kindled against Balaam, but the self-proclaimed prophet is unable to see The Angel of Yehovah standing in his path. It turns out that Balaam’s donkey has more spiritual insight than the false prophet himself!
Enjoy that for a moment…
Also, remember Christy’s visual about just how numerous the nation of Israel had become (the football stadiums)? I love that chapter 22 ends with Balak and Balaam looking out…they could only see “part of the people.” I bet Balak was shaking in his sandals!
So what about Israel? Do they even know that this battle has been raging? It is very likely that they did not know. What lesson can we take from that?
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!