Daily Bible Reading: August 4th - 10th
Date Added: 8/7/2008 2:51:27 AM
Thank you so much for your patience with us this week. Enjoy the Bible Reading...
Date: August 4
Reading: Numbers 19:1-22
Numbers chapter 19 is focused on the cleansing of those who become unclean because they have been around a person that has died. Though some of the practices sound a little mystical, we need to be sure that we do not miss the practical as well. Again, we see God’s wisdom as He required the person to be separated for 7 days. This would help insure that the person had not contracted any disease from the dead body.
There was certainly significance in the person receiving the 3rd day and 7th day sprinkling for cleansing from the priest. That significance included their acts of faith and obedience before the Lord. Yet, God still called upon them to take the practical step of community safety as well.
Thank God for the wisdom of His Word
Date: August 5
Reading: Numbers 20:1-29
Numbers chapter 20 begins with the death of Miriam and ends with the death of Aaron. Death is a reality of life on this earth. Because of Adam’s sin, death entered the world and all people will one day face death. What we will learn in Scripture is that death is not the end of all things, but that there is life after death. The question is: where will you spend the eternal part of your life? Will it be with God, or will it be spent separated from God?
As you read through God’s Word be attentive to what it teaches about eternity. Be alert for what it says about how one comes to know that he will spend his life with God after he dies. That security is found in Jesus Christ. Ask God to teach you about how to find that peace in Christ.
Date: August 6
Reading: Numbers 21:1-35
Today’s reading is filled with the wanderings of Israel. Remember, because they refused to go into Caanan and take the promised land after the spies returned and delivered their report, they have been “sentenced” to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. This wandering, I am sure, can get quite tiring. If you can obtain a map of the wanderings of Israel (sometimes they are in the back of Bibles) then you will be able to follow them as you read about them going from place to place. You will see that they tend to travel in a circle.
In verse 4 we read that the children of Israel became discouraged once again because of their wanderings and the lack of bread and water. Once again they complain about
God and Moses simply leading them around in the wilderness to die. God decides to not tolerate their complaining so He sends serpents into the camp that begin biting and killing the people. The people quickly become aware of the wrong they have committed and call upon Moses to pray to God to take away the serpents. God, who hears the prayers of Moses, does something very unusual, yet quite significant.
What did God do? Did He simply make the serpents go away? No! Instead, He tells Moses to make a serpent out of brass and put it on a pole and raise it up for all the Israelites to see it. Then, if someone is bitten by a real serpent, they just need to look upon the brass serpent on the pole and they will be healed.
Wow! Can you figure out why God did that? Well, in your reading through the Bible, you will soon discover that this act by Moses of making a brass serpent and lifting it up for all of Israel to see, was really a foreshadow of the coming and the work of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, which you will read in about three months, you will see that Jesus Himself will say that what Moses did was a picture of what Jesus came to do. You have read the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, and you know that Jesus was lifted up on a cross to be crucified. That is the picture that the brass serpent made by Moses was illustrating. All who are “bitten” by sin, which is every person, need to only look upon Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross to be healed of that poisonous affliction of sin. If they do not look to Jesus then the sin will kill them spiritually as well as physically, However, if a person will look to Jesus, then, just like the Israelite in the wilderness, he or she will be healed of that spiritual disease of sin and will live in eternity with Jesus.
Praise God for His wonderful Word that continually points us to Jesus.
Date: August 7
Reading: Numbers 22:1-41
Chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers begins a very interesting story of an encounter between Balak and Israel involving the prophet Balaam. This story will cover three chapters of Numbers and begins here with Balak, king of Moab finding Israel camped outside of his country. Balak had apparently heard of Israel’s recent successes in battle and was fearful of them. He said, “Now shall this company (Israel) lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field.”
So, Balak, in hopes of stopping Israel from having success against him, calls upon a local prophet named Balaam. Balak has noticed that Balaam has proclaimed blessings and cursings on people and they have come to pass. We read this in the last of verse 6 where Balak says of Balaam, “…for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.” Hoping that Balaam can curse Israel and keep them from having success against Moab, Balak send gifts to Balaam to entice him to take action against Israel.
This is the first time we have been introduced to Balaam. We have no idea what kind of a “prophet” he is. You may have found it surprising that Balaam, a man who is not a part of Israel and living in a pagan land, would actually be a prophet of the One True God. Balak apparently did not realize any distinction between a prophet of the One True God and a worker of witchcraft. We can realize this because he sent to Balaam “rewards of divination.”
Balaam inquires of God as to what he should do, and the Lord tells Balaam to not go with the men. In fact, God tells Balaam that the people of Israel are a blessed people. Thus, in this first encounter between Balaam and the messengers from Balak, Balaam listens to God and does not return with the messengers.
As you know, there is more to this story that you read in this chapter. We will look at the second encounter with Balaam the next time we read through the Bible. For today, however, let’s consider the question of what we can learn from verses 1-14. There are several lessons.
First, we learned that God had prophets among other people. Though God had a special relationship with Israel as a people, He is still God over all people. Thus, He could, and did, choose individuals from other nations to speak His truth.
Second, we saw that a person of God can be enticed to do act for evil. Balaam, for what ever reason, did not realize who Israel was and God’s blessing on them. Thus, he was susceptible to being led to do evil.
Third, we saw how Balaam would not make a decision based on what looked like an easy job to do and the rewards that were offered to him. Instead, he went to the Lord I prayer to receive direction as to what he should do. When he received his answer, even though it was to not do what would get him immediate financial success, Balaam followed what the Lord said.
We need to heed the examples that are set out for us in these first 14 verses of Numbers 22. Especially, we need to learn to always go to the Lord in prayer before we make any decision. It may be for us, like it was for Balaam, that the Lord does not want us to take the step that appears to be a step of success. Our heart should be to serve God and not ourselves.
Date: August 8
Reading: Numbers 23:1-30
The battle between Balak and Israel begins. Or, maybe we should say, the test of Balaam’s faithfulness to God and the demonstration of God’s faithfulness to Israel begins. It certainly is both.
In this confrontation, it is interesting that Balak, who seems clueless about the things of the Lord, willingly follows all the steps that Balaam requires. Each time Balak has Balaam look upon Israel in hopes of bringing a curse upon them, Balaam requires that seven altars be build and that a young bull and a ram be sacrificed on each altar. It may have been that each of these locations were places of worship to Baal, a false god, and Balaam wanted to demonstrate his worship of the One True God. The last verse of chapter 22 says that Balak took Balaam “up into the high places of Baal” when he took Balaam to look out over Israel and curse them.
Balaam had no desire of not hearing the Lord correctly, especially after all that occurred on the way to see Balak. After taking the time to worship God through the sacrifices he seeks what the Lord desired to say. The Lord gives Balaam the words to speak and Balaam returns to Balak and delivers the message. What is the message? The message is this, the Lord has blessed Israel and Balaam must declare that blessing. Israel is going to be a large nation that cannot be numbered and will possess the land.
Balak cannot believe that Balaam would bless Israel when he brought him to curse Israel. But, Balaam answers with a pure heart, “Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth?”
We should desire to do just as Balaam is doing here. We should desire to speak only what the Lord would want us to say. We are not a prophet like Balaam so we do not have God putting actual words into our mouth. However, we have something better, we have the literal Word of God. Our continual study of God’s Word will be used of God to transform our minds to think as He would want us to think. Then as we face life’s situations we can prayerfully seek God to guide our thinking according to His Word.
Thank God for His Word and for the Holy Spirit Who uses the Word of God to teach us the mind of Christ.
Date: August 9
Reading: Numbers 24:1-25
Chapter 24 begins with the third attempt by Balak to get Balaam to proclaim curses upon Israel. Balaam once again has Balak prepare seven altars once again and perform seven sacrifices. However, this time Balaam does not even leave to inquire of the Lord. He knows that God desires to bless Israel and is not going to change from that. God does not change.
So, Balaam, much to the chagrin of Balak, once again declares blessings upon Israel.
Balaam goes so far as to say that Israel “shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall brek their bones, and pierce them through with arrows” (vs. 8). It certainly does not sound good for Balak or any other nation that opposes Israel. In fact, Balaam goes on to say concerning Israel, “Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee” (vs. 9).
God had a special plan for Israel and they were under His providential care. Any who opposed Israel would be cursed by God. Those that blessed and favored Israel would receive God’s blessings. Today, after the coming of Jesus Christ, God’s special favor is on His Church. God’s blessings flow to those who come into the Church and His curse is upon all those who oppose His Church and stay outside of it. The entrance into the Church is through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.
Date: August 10
Reading: Numbers 25:1-18; 26:1-11
After all the victories of Israel we read about in chapter 21 and the protection of Israel in chapters 22-24, it is shocking to read of Israel turning them back on the Lord. Israel had been living close to the boarders of Moab where Midianites lived. These were people that worshipped the false god Baalpeor. Men of Israel began to have sinful relations with the daughters of Moab. This was breaking the 7th commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Because of these relationships, the children of Israel were drawn in to worship the Midianites false god. Thus, the Israelites also committed idolatry.
These sins lead God to bring a plague upon the Israelites and to command Moses to kill all who had worshipped Baalpeor. In the end 24,000 people die. What a horrible unnecessary loss.
Why did Israel fall into this sin. Well, first of all, all men are sinful by nature. Because of this fact it is very important that all of us guard ourselves against sin. Israel was living near these Midianites and were able to interact with them. Those who hate the Lord will use all kinds of “weapons” to destroy God’s people. If they cannot beat them by a direct attack, as Balak knew he could not; then they try other means. Here the Midianites sought to bring the Israelites into their sins. And they succeeded in doing this.
We need to be on guard today as well. Satan and people who hate the Lord are out to destroy followers of Jesus Christ. They rejoice in seeing a Christian fall into sin. They want others to join with them in their sin. Pray to the Lord to protect you from evil enticements and to keep your heart and mind on the Lord.