1619.) Numbers 24

24.  Balaam looking down

Balaam looking down over the “goodly tents” of the Israelite camp.

Numbers 24   (CEV)

1Balaam was sure that the LORD would tell him to bless Israel again. So he did not use any magic to find out what the LORD wanted him to do, as he had the first two times. Instead, he looked out toward the desert 2and saw the tribes of Israel camped below. Just then, God’s Spirit took control of him, 3and Balaam said:

” I am the son of Beor,

and my words are true,  so listen to my message!

4It comes from the LORD,

the God All-Powerful.

I bowed down to him

and saw a vision of Israel.

5 People of Israel,

your camp is lovely.

Ma Tovu is a Jewish prayer —

which begins with the verse above, Numbers 24:5 — “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!”  This prayer is often recited by worshipers, reverently, joyfully, as they enter the synagogue. You can listen to it  HERE.

6It’s like a grove of palm trees

Num24 palm

or a garden beside a river.

You are like tall aloe trees

that the LORD has planted,

or like cedars

growing near water.

7You and your descendants

will prosper

like an orchard

beside a stream.

Your king will rule with power

and be a greater king

than Agag the Amalekite.

8With the strength of a wild ox,

God led you out of Egypt.

24. Larson. PILLAR-OF-CLOUD

You will defeat your enemies,

shooting them with arrows  and crushing their bones.

9Like a lion you lie down,

resting after an attack.

Who would dare disturb you?

” Anyone who blesses you

will be blessed;

anyone who curses you

will be cursed.”

24.  Abraham

Jews would hear in Balaam’s words echoes of God’s promise to Abraham:

Genesis 12:3 (NIV)

“I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

10When Balak heard this, he was so furious that he pounded his fist against his hand and said, ” I called you here to place a curse on my enemies, and you’ve blessed them three times. 11Leave now and go home! I told you I would pay you well, but since the LORD didn’t let you do what I asked, you won’t be paid.”

Each of the first three prophecies, it has gotten worse for Balak. In the first one, Balaam fails to curse Israel; in the second, he blesses Israel, and in the third, he curses Balak! How much worse can it get for the king of Moab?

12Balaam answered, ” I told your messengers 13that even if you offered me a palace full of silver or gold, I would still obey the LORD. And I explained that I would say only what he told me. 14So I’m going back home, but I’m leaving you with a warning about what the Israelites will someday do to your nation.”

Balaam’s Fourth Message

15Balaam said:

” I am the son of Beor,

and my words are true,

so listen to my message!

16My knowledge comes

from God Most High,

the LORD All-Powerful.

I bowed down to him

and saw a vision of Israel.

17 What I saw in my vision

hasn’t happened yet.

But someday, a king of Israel

will appear like a star.

24. WiseMenStillSeekHim

Matthew 2:1-2 (NKJV)

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  David Nevue plays his arrangement of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” I love listening to Advent and Christmas carols out of season!

__________________________

He will wipe out you Moabites

and destroy  those tribes who live in the desert.

18Israel will conquer Edom

and capture the land

of that enemy nation.

19The king of Israel will rule

and destroy the survivors

of every town there.

2 Samuel 8:13-14 (NIV)

And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites  in the Valley of Salt.

He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.

20And I saw this vision

about the Amalekites:

Their nation is now great,

but it will someday

disappear forever.

21 And this is what I saw

about the Kenites:

They think they’re safe,

living among the rocks,

22but they will be wiped out

when Assyria conquers them.

23 No one can survive

if God plans destruction.

24Ships will come from Cyprus,

bringing people

who will invade

the lands of Assyria and Eber.

But finally, Cyprus itself

will be ruined.”

25After Balaam finished, he started home, and Balak also left.

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Balaam looking over the Israelite camp.   http://www.chabad.org/media/images/109650.jpg
palms.    http://d3thflcq1yqzn0.cloudfront.net/012103190_prevstill.jpeg
“The Pillar of Cloud.” digital art by Ted Larson.   http://www.digitalartbytedlarson.com/img/exodus-cd-cover-600-x-600.jpg
Abraham.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/11-abraham-starsjpg.jpg
Wise Men.   http://s230.photobucket.com/user/sweetmummyof3/media/Wisemenstillseek.jpg.html
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