Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Numbers, chapters 23 through 25, in which Balak attempts to outmaneuver God. Some impressions from the text:
- Like a stubborn child who insists on getting what he wants after being repeatedly told no, Balak refuses to accept that Israel is God’s chosen people, and insists that Balaam curse them.
- The futility with which Balak challenges God would be comical if it weren’t so serious. When he doesn’t get want he wants from Balaam’s first oracle, he moves him to a different place to try again, as if the location were the problem and God might change his mind on account of a small change in irrelevant circumstance. How often do we try to outmaneuver God in similar ways?
- Balak doesn’t get what he wants the second time either, and so tries a third time to get a different result from another location. When that also fails, Balak gets angry with Balaam. But Balaam reminds him that it is God who he’s dealing with, and that Balaam is only the messenger.
- God plagues Israel on account of their “whoring” with the Baal worshiping Midianites. Phinehas turns the plague back by being “jealous for his God” and making atonement by killing Zimri and Cozbi. God greatly honors Phinehas as a result, affirming that jealousy for the sake of God is wholly appropriate.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
The book of Numbers lives up to its name. – Numbers 1-2
Tests and tributes. – Numbers 5-6
God leads Israel from Sinai into the wilderness. – Numbers 8-10
Rebellion and disobedience run rampant among Israel. – Numbers 11-13
Rebellion proves costly. – Numbers 14-15
Korah’s rebellion. – Numbers 16-17
Sin at Meribah, and the death of Aaron. – Numbers 18-20
Salvation. Our choice. His work. – Numbers 21-22