Suggested Reading: Numbers 25-26
(click scripture link to read online)
Key Verse: Numbers 25:3
So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.
Just across the salt deposits pictured above was Moab. The Israelite men committed adultery with Moabite women. The idea was simple. If Balaam could not curse Israel, then corrupt them, and God will have to punish them. Sexual sin was followed by the Israelite men joining the Midianite women in worshipping their gods. The curse of yet another plague came on Israel. 24,000 of the people of Israel died. Severe judgement came on the people of Midian and Balaam himself was killed by the sword (Numbers 31:8). The effects of Balaam’s far reaching influence was still felt 1500 years later. Revelation 2:14 tells us that it was Balaam who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the Children of Israel by introducing sexual immorality and participation in idol worship. The doctrine of Balaam was still believed and practised by some in the Church in Pergamos. The Lord tells this Church to repent or He will judge them severely.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, as you revealed sin in the churches of the Revelation, reveal to me any sin in my life, and I ask for the grace of true repentance. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
As a boy, I read John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” My imagination was captivated by a sketch of Pilgrim turning aside from his journey to the Celestial City to spend time in “Vanity Fair.” I thought, “No, no, Pilgrim. Don’t go there! You will risk never making it to Heaven. The pleasures of sin are destructive.” I had no radio or TV, only books, and I could see things in a creative way that was more powerful than any movie director could make them. I still see that picture and I cringe at the memory. I’ve just read Proverbs 2:10-22. The writer may have been thinking of the story in today’s reading. Proverbs 2:18, “Her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead.” Surely this was the experience of the men of Israel with the Midianite women.
Yours for a single-minded pursuit of the “Celestial City,”
P.S. Yesterday we visited the Shepherd’s Fields (pictured below) and Bethlehem, which is part of the Palestinian Authority. We felt perfectly safe, even while the conflict continues between Israel and Palestinian Gaza. For those who have been asking about the safety of our tour group, let me quote the first words of the angel who appeared to the shepherds in that field…”Fear Not!”