Wednesday after Oculi
Posted on March 27, 2019 byunder
Scripture: Numbers 24:1-13 (NKJV)
24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use 1sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.
3 Then he took up his oracle and said:
“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened, 4 the utterance of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes wide open:
5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! 6 Like valleys that stretch out, like gardens by the riverside, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters. 7 He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters. His king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.
8 “God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones and pierce them with his arrows. 9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’ Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.”
10 Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times! 11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the Lord has kept you back from honor.”
12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak’?”
“So Balaam said to Balak, ‘Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, “If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak”?’”
God brings Balaam to hold fast to the Word of the Lord amidst the temptations of worldly wealth. Jesus would also say, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). God knows the weakness of man’s sinful flesh, and it is the proper teaching, preaching, and practice of His Word that maintains the good fight against such a risk.
Once God’s truth is foregone, all is lost. In these lasts days many pastors simply forgo faithful teaching, preaching, and practice to give the people what their itching ears want to hear, all for the sake of worldly wealth (namely, self-comfort or self-security). Even though Balaam would eventually relinquish properly upholding the Word of the Lord, at least at this point he demonstrated proper proclamation as he prophesied about the conquering Christ to come—the one who would “destroy all the sons of tumult.”
Thankfully today, through pastors brought to properly carry out Word and Sacrament ministry, Christ continues His prophetic role, for it is Christ crucified who conquered not just the sons of tumult, but through His fully atoning merits He conquered sin, death, Hell, and the devil! How joyous to know that God keeps a remnant for Himself to carry on His truth to future generations!
Pray Psalm 92
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound. For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. O Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever. But You, Lord, are on high forevermore. For behold, Your enemies, O Lord, for behold, Your enemies shall perish; All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. My eye also has seen my desire on my enemies; My ears hear my desire on the wicked who rise up against me. The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. 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.