GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19 Bible Reading: Numbers Chapters 31-33

It is DANGEROUS to PLAY with the FIRE of COMPROMISE: "And they warred against the Midianites, just as the Lord commanded Moses, and they killed all the males. They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed---Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword...But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle. And Moses said to them: "Have you kept all the women alive? Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord." (Num. 31:7-8, 14-16)

Upon a comparative study of different passages in Numbers (31: 9, 16 with 25:1, 6), it appears that the people referred here as the ‘Midianites’ are the same as those called as ‘Moabites’ in Num. 25:1. Ironically, Moses was related to the Midianites through marriage, for Zipporah his wife was a daughter of a Midianite priest (Exod. 2:16–21). He must have found it painful therefore to engage Midian in a holy war, but God’s own justice must be paramount above all other relationships. God had commanded Moses to destroy the Midianites for corrupting His people through fornication and idolatry at Baal of Peor, following the counsel of Balaam (25:1–18). This was indeed the last battle that Moses directed before his death!

The crime against the Midianites was that they had seduced the Israelites into both idolatry and immorality, primarily following the crafty advice of Balaam. It appears that Balaam did not have a long time to enjoy whatever rewards Balak gave him because he was killed in this ensuing battle (31:8). Balaam did not “die the death of the righteous” (23:10) as he had hoped for himself! In fact, since he did not live the life of the righteous, he should never have hoped to die the death of the righteous! He had lost everything in order to gain some wealth “for what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Thus, tragically, the man who blessed the Israelites three times (23:7–11, 18–25; 24:3–10) ended up bringing a curse upon everyone, including himself. Balaam provides us with an important lesson that playing with the fire of compromise can lead us to getting burnt out eventually. In fact, Balaam played with fire by listening to the tempting offers of Balak, king of Moab (22:16–17) even though he was specifically forbidden by God from cursing Israel. He devised upon a plan whereby the Israelites would bring a curse upon themselves by sinning against God. To make this happen, Balaam apparently told Balak to use Moabite women to tempt the men of Israel into immorality and idolatry (25:1–3; 31:15–16).

Balaam was not the only one to get burnt by playing with fire. Israel succumbed into sinful activities and the “anger of the Lord was aroused” against them resulting in a plague that ultimately resulted in 24,000 Israeli deaths (25:3, 8–9). Likewise, the Moabites/Midianites suffered militarily at the hands of the Israelites, and all their males were killed according to God’s commandments (25:16–18; 31:1–18).

Let us never forget that “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29), and it is dangerous to play with the ‘fire’ of compromise, especially when it comes to God’s standards of holiness. Like Balaam, we will get burnt out for we will definitely reap whatever we sow through our words and actions. Let’s ponder over the following questions today as we reflect on the tragic ending of Balaam who had an unprecedented access to Jehovah God: "Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Prov. 6:27-28)

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