Tuesday after Oculi
Posted on March 26, 2019 byunder
Scripture: Numbers 23:1-30 (NKJV)
23:1 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 2 And Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a desolate height.
4 And God met Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.”
5 Then the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.”
6 So he returned to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, he and all the princes of Moab. 7 And he took up his oracle and said:
“Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, from the mountains of the east. ‘Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!’ 8 How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced? 9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him; There! A people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations. 10 Who can count the dust of Jacob, or number one-fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!”
11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!”
12 So he answered and said, “Must I not take heed to speak what the LORD has put in my mouth?”
13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only the outer part of them, and shall not see them all; curse them for me from there.” 14 So he brought him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
15 And he said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering while I meet the LORD over there.”
16 Then the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, “Go back to Balak, and thus you shall speak.”
17 So he came to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab were with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the LORD spoken?”
18 Then he took up his oracle and said:
“Rise up, Balak, and hear! Listen to me, son of Zippor! 19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 20 Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
21 “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them. 22 God brings them out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox. 23 For there is no sorcery against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’ 24 Look, a people rises like a lioness, and lifts itself up like a lion; It shall not lie down until it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain.”
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!”
26 So Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the LORD speaks, that I must do’?”
27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, that overlooks the wasteland.
29 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on every altar.
Within the words spoken by King Balak there is a superstitious technique utilized requiring that the curse be delivered from a place where the one cursing (in this case Balaam) has to see his victims. This is revealed right from the start. Look at the conclusion to chapter 22 where, just before the first prophecy, King Balak takes Balaam “up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people” (22:41). As the attempts fail it can also be noted that King Balak tries other heights: “to the top of Pisgah,” and again “to the top of Peor.”
Not fearing, loving, or trusting in God, sinful flesh easily falls into the same superstitious line of thinking when it comes to the desire for power and control. An example would be the self-made belief that says, “If I do this or that just right, or if I abstain from this or that sin, then I will make appeasement and earn a blessing.” These are, however, only merits for a false god of self design. “My will be done” is the deep-rooted, hidden cry of the old Adam.
Thanks be to God that He has brought His Word to be preserved through the ages. This brings God’s will to be done among us, breaking and hindering every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature (including trust in superstitions). Through God’s Word Christ Jesus is revealed as the only one to make true, full appeasement (atonement) for our sins. He is the Mercy Seat to whom sinners must flee in faith for refuge and the blessings of true life!
Pray Psalm 34
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.