Saturday, 8 October 2016

Numbers 21-25

Here's how the study works: Read the chapters mentioned in the heading during the week and share any words, thoughts, verses that stood out to you. Having a week for several chapters creates the opportunity to revisit them and make additional comments as you feel inclined as well as make comments on other people's insights.


Susan Barnes said...

21:31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.

This chapter is the part of the story that Rahab related to the spies (Joshua 2:10).

Later (in Numbers 31) 2½ Israelite tribes were given this land as their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan which shows that God's plans are not set in concrete. He allows people to make requests of him. Leadership is not iron-clad rule but one with allowances for personal preferences.

Susan Barnes said...

22:20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”

It seems like the next morning God had changed his mind (v. 22) but perhaps the truth is God was already angry with Balaam in this verse. God had already told Balaam not to go with them (v. 12-13). Yet Balaam was tempted by the money (v. 16-18). So God uses Balaam's disobedience and greed to teach him a valuable lesson. Balaam had divided loyalties, perhaps like Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8).

Susan Barnes said...

23;23 There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’

Today we may hear talk of evil having a presence or an influence in a situation. But as people of God: There is no divination against us. There is no evil omen against us. We are to live free of evil oppression and say, "See what God has done!"

Susan Barnes said...

24:1-2 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him

Interesting that God was able to use Balaam even when he did use divination. Here he relies wholly on God and His Spirit comes on him.

We hear God more clearly when we stop relying on other things.

Susan Barnes said...

25:13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.

At this point Moses seems ineffective and Phinehas (Aaron's grandson) steps in. The younger generation are stepping up.

This attack came after the Balaam attack failed. The enemy couldn't put a curse on Israel so tempted them with the sexual misconduct which is part of Baal worship. (NB Women priests in these pagan cult sacrifices were predominately sexual roles so perhaps this is the reason why Israel did not have female priests - to separate them from the other nations.)