Tag Archives: Moses

Heed the warning

And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
Numbers 22:12 NKJV

The king of Moab, Balak, was very afraid of the children of Israel and sent a delegation to Balaam asking him to come and curse these people.

Balaam told the men to stay overnight and he would see what God had to say.

Numbers 22:12 is God’s response.

However, Balak doesn’t like this answer and sends another message.

Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they. And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”
Numbers 22:15‭-‬17 NKJV

Balaam already knows what God said, however he chooses to ask the Lord again.

And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.”
Numbers 22:20 NKJV

He was only to go: “if the men come to call you”.

So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.
Numbers 22:21 NKJV

The Bible doesn’t record the men coming to call, instead it records Balaam getting up early, saddling his donkey, and going with them.

Not a good choice.

Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him…
Numbers 22:22a NKJV

The next several verses are an incredible story of Balaam’s donkey saving his life, not once but three times from the Angel of the Lord, sent to kill Balaam.

And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.” And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord , “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.” Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
Numbers 22:32‭-‬35 NKJV

This is very clear, speak only what God tells him to.

The scriptures go on to tell of many words of blessing God had him speak over the children of Israel.

Balak isn’t happy about it and at one point tells Balaam not to speak at all: Numbers 23:25.

The story seems over in Numbers 24:25, Balak and Balaam both return to their homes, but Numbers 25:1 is actually directly linked to Balaam.

Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.
Numbers 25:1 NKJV

We know this harlotry is from advice given to Balak by Balaam.

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. Numbers 31:15‭-‬16 NKJV

God made it very clear Balaam was not to harm the children of Israel in any way.

He spoke clearly to Balaam about them.

Balaam was nearly killed by God three times on the way to Balak.

God allowed only blessings to be spoken about the children of Israel.

And yet Balaam gave counsel which opened a temptation many men fell into and a plague struck the children of Israel.

Yes, those men who committed harlotry were equally to blame.

Those Moabite women who committed harlotry were equally to blame.

But we can only wonder if so many lives would have been spared if Balaam had simply followed God’s Word.

For God sent the children of Israel to deal with this.

They killed the kings of Midian with the  rest  of those who were killed— Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword. Numbers 31:8 NKJV

Because Balaam would not heed the signs God gave him, signs of warning, it cost him his life as well as many others.

It’s a valuable lesson.

Seek God’s counsel.

Know His Word.

Heed God’s warnings.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this lesson. Although it is a sad story, Your will and warnings were clear. Thank You that is still true today. You speak to us and You warn us. Please let us heed Your Word and Your will. Let our ears and hearts be open and teachable. Please Lord, help us to be mindful of Your truths and walk in Your ways. Thank You for being the unchanging God Almighty. Thank You for Your faithfulness and truth. Amen.

“…as the LORD commanded him, so did he.”

Numbers 17:11 KJV — And Moses did so: as the LORD commanded him, so did he.

Leviticus 8:4 KJV — And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Numbers 27:22 KJV — And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:

Here are a few examples of Moses’s obedience to God.

Between the time of Israel’s leaving Egypt and sojourn in the desert, up til the time to move to the Promised Land, we see Moses only disobeying God once.

Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”
Numbers 20:11‭-‬12 NKJV

His disobedience cost him.

Yet, his humility is inspiring.

He didn’t complain, he didn’t make excuses, he didn’t argue, he simply took God’s discipline and we never see him disobeying again.

God says something to Moses and Moses does it.

And it wasn’t like the children of Israel were an easy people.

Complaining and contending seemed to be their most common act.

Numbers 11:1, the people are tired of Manna, complain about this free meal, and want to return to Egypt.

Numbers 12:1, Aaron and Miriam don’t like Moses’s wife and spoke against Moses because of her.

Numbers 13:31, ten of the spies sent to the Promised Land bring back a bad report, not because the land is bad, but because they do not believe the Lord will grant them victory, they state: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”

This bad report causes havock among the people, only Joshua and Caleb remain faithful to God and His leaders: Moses and Aaron.

And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!
Numbers 14:2 NKJV

…because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.
Numbers 14:22‭-‬23 NKJV

Numbers 14:40, they admit they have sinned, but decide they will enter the Promised Land. Moses warns them not to.

Numbers 14:44-45 the Israelites go anyway and are defeated.

One would think they had learned, but no.

Numbers 16:3 a man named Korah stirs up rebellion along with others.

All of those who presume to defy the Lord and His appointed servants die.

Numbers 16: 41 On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord .”

And the people’s poor behavior, doubt, pride, and stiff-necked disbelief continued.

One can well imagine how difficult and disheartening being their leader was for Moses.

His example of following God and His commands is a high standard, but through Christ Jesus we have this same opportunity to obey the Lord.

Moses met with God.

He talked to Him about everything.

Each time something came up, Moses went to the Lord.

Moses’s entire leadership was marked by his relationship with God Almighty.

Through Jesus Christ, we can also have that relationship.

God used Moses in an incredible way, he was God’s leader for that time.

Each of us is unique and created by God for a purpose.

He has opportunities in each day for us to grow in our relationship as well as serve those He puts in our lives.

May your heart be encouraged to follow Jesus today, as Moses followed God so long ago.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for these verses. Thank You for showing us Your ways are best. Lord, I want to be like Moses, to obey everything You command me. To hear Your voice clearly and to walk in it. Lord, I want to be humble like Moses. To be able to take every difficulty before You, every circumstance to You and to follow Your Word. Lord Jesus, for the times I have not obeyed You, please forgive me. Please help me to see before I transgress, that I might not sin against You. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for salvation. May Your name be glorified. Amen.

The presence of God

Picture by K. Wolfe

Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
Exodus 3:6 NKJV

Moses was standing before God.

And He was afraid.

Very understandable.

In fact it’s wise, because God Almighty is holy and we are sinners.

The Bible doesn’t record Adam or Eve being afraid of God before the fall in Genesis 3.

Afterwards, all it took was hearing Him, to make them afraid.

Genesis 3:8 KJV — And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Our sin makes us unclean.

And the Bible gives us other examples that mankind are sinners and God is holy.

Isaiah, a prophet of God, a man who served God diligently, records his encounter with the LORD.

Isaiah 6:5 KJV — Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Simon Peter’s reaction after the miracle of the catch of fish shows his understanding of his sin and Jesus’s holiness.

Luke 5:8 NKJV — When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

Standing before God is a privilege and not a single sinner deserves the right to be there.

Even the angels have a distinction of standing before God’s presence.

Luke 1:19 KJV — And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

And yet, we see God reaching through the gap to us.

That’s why Jesus came, to bridge the gulf between sinners and Himself.

John 3:17 NKJV — “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

For those who have left their burden of sin at the foot of the cross, it is such a joyous freedom and responsibility.

For freedom from sin brings our lives into a right relationship with God.

But it’s not a “Get out of Jail free” card to slap upon the table of judgement and turn to hop down the block, living anyway we please.

It’s a relationship, where we daily have the opportunity to draw nearer to God Most High.

It’s a journey, where we become more like Christ as He hones and polishes our character.

As we walk in the joy and privilege of drawing close to God, let us never forget that He is holy.

May our spiritual insight never be dimmed by familiarity.

There’s an example in scripture as to the consequence of growing familiar with God’s grace and blessing while growing blind to His holiness.

1 Chronicles 13:9-10 KJV — And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.

The Ark had been staying in Uzza’s father’s house and at some point Uzza grew calloused to God’s holiness.

His heart condition was revealed in his actions.

The same is true for us and God will respond accordingly.

who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them ) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
Romans 2:15‭-‬16 NKJV

As each of us walks in our day-to-day, let each one remember that God is holy.

Let our hearts meditate on how incredible He truly is and how unworthy we ever will be of the love He so generously pours out upon us daily.

Like Moses, a man who was in God’s presence regularly and is also described as a very humble man (Numbers 12:3), we need to fear God, to revere Him, while speaking with Him daily.

May we never grow callous to the privilege of being in God’s presence.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word which guides and directs. Thank You for this story of Moses. Please help us to both seek Your presence and honor it. Help our hearts to grasp the incredible love You have for each one of us and the chasm You bridged just to have a personal relationship with us.