Numbers 21: 1–22: 20
A cycle is developing before our eyes, but it is one we are probably already familiar with because it is already cemented in our own lives. The cycle is: People start to complain, they rebel, the Lord disciplines them, They repent, the Lord saves them. This cycle will characterize most of the following books in the OT. I say this is familiar to us because this is the product of our sin nature. We, at our heart level, just like the Israelites, don’t want what the Lord wants to give us. So God takes us through the journey of sanctification so we finally sing like David in Psalm 57, “Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.” He is so kind to convince us of His love, and faithfulness. We will get to watch this unfold in the following books.
Remember the people they are fighting, the Moabites and Ammorites, are the product of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughters. They do not follow God. Remember God warned them that the idolatry they prescribe to would enslave them. They were so far from God that in His mercy, he brought death to end their enslaved life on earth. They were set in their decision to ignore God. When it says the Balaam seeks the Lord’s direction it is not because of his devotion. It is because everyone knew that the Israelites where the Lord’s chosen people, (because of everything that was accomplished in Egypt) and they knew the best way to deal with a group of people was to talk to whatever gods they worshipped. In this case it happens to be Yahweh, the only real God. In God’s mercy for all souls, He told Balaam to leave the Israelites alone.
Luke 1: 26–56
This passage came alive for me a few months ago when I read a book called “Giddy up, Eunice” by my dear friend Sophie Hudson. (Who is not actually my dear friend but would be if we actually met in real life.) I am going to draw on what she pointed out in her book. The first thing Mary does is go to Elizabeth to see if she is pregnant. This was the near prediction that Gabriel gave her, so if it is true the prediction about Jesus is true too. And behold Elizabeth is pregnant. I love that in the excitement, fear, anticipation, fear, joy, and experiencing God’s faithfulness, God gives Mary and Elizabeth each other. They understand each other’s situation. Miraculously pregnant, with sons that will change the world. One is the announcer, and the other the Savior of the world. For Mary there was so many ways that she had to trust the Lord. The main one being that she could be stoned for becoming pregnant during her betrothal. I love the Lord for giving her Elizabeth to talk to, pray with and celebrate with. Guess what? He does the same thing for us. When we need great faith, He gives great believing friends to encourage us on in faith.
Psalm 57: 1–11
People like to try to juke me all the time by saying, “IF your God is so loving then why is there suffering in the world?” Well, the cycle we see in Numbers and this Psalm point to the answer. There is suffering so we will learn who God is and draw closer to Him until our heart sings, “Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth.” In our sinful state our heart sings, “Why have you brought me out here to die? I hate this manna you provide for me miraculously everyday!” God delivers us from suffering so we will “Hide beneath the shadow of His wings.”
Proverbs 11: 9–11
I love this Podcast called Crimetown. (The language is awful, so if that bothers you don’t listen) It is about city’s in the US that have been taken over by corruption and organized crime. This proverb made me think of that podcast. When corruption and wickedness take hold of city, crime reigns. People really do celebrate when they die because they are finally free of it. Godly people bring up right living.