Numbers 22 - Day 181 (link to reading plan)
Scripture: Numbers 22
Observation: The king of Moab sends for a sorcerer to curse the Israelites as approach his lands. Interestingly, Balaam has a relationship with God and tentatively obeys His commands.
Application: Balaam is an "interesting" character in the sense that he knows God and has a relationship with Him but isn't entirely devoted to Him. Balaam reminds me of a modern-day televangelist who is only in it for the money. Much later, in the New Testament, we learn that Balaam took advantage of the situation and sold valuable information to king Balak to help him defeat the Israelites.
Don't be a Balaam.
Prayer: Search my heart O God make it ever true...
Numbers 21 - Day 180 (link to reading plan)
Scripture: Numbers 21:4-9
Observation: As the Israelites wander through the desert of Sinai and make their way toward the promised land, they encounter opposition from the inhabitants of the land but find the time to grumble about their circumstances.
Application: It's better to focus our attention on what needs to be done than to sulk about our existing challenges. When the Israelites were busy defending themselves from their enemies, they didn't grumble about what they didn't have.
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember all the good things that You have provided.
Numbers 20 - Day 179 (link to reading plan)
Scripture: Numbers 20:1-13
Observation: The Israelites grumble against Moses and Aaron because there was no water, again. They, in turn, seek the Lord for instructions, again. God provides, again. However, Moses didn't follow God's instructions.
Application: The bible doesn't tell us why Moses didn't follow God's instructions this time. Could have it been because he was distracted and mourning his sister's death? Nevertheless, the consequences for his "lack of faith" were serious, for now he would not be allowed to enter the promised land.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for my "lack of faith."
Numbers 19 - Day 178 (link to reading plan)
Scripture: Numbers 19:17-21
Commentary: water of cleansing. The mixture of ashes from the sacrificed heifer and water from a spring or running stream is called the “water of cleansing.” It is sprinkled on an unclean person as part of the cleansing ritual. Hittite ritual texts also include water as a means of removing actual or suspected impurity. However, the mixture described in Numbers also makes the person who sprinkles the water unclean until evening. This is based on association with the mixture’s purpose and the assumed contamination created by the sacrificial ingredients themselves.
Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., Nu 19:20–21). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Application: Long before Jesus reveals himself as "Waiokeola," to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, God provided the Israelites a means to cleanse themselves from their impurities. Thankfully, now we don't have to wait seven days or look for a red heifer to sacrifice.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your sacrifice that has cleansed me of my impurities.
Numbers 18 - Day 177 (link to reading plan)
Scripture: Numbers 18:25-32
Commentary: This section summarizes again in general terms the duties of the Levites, and the nature of their relationship to the priests, the sons of Aaron (vv 1–7). The author then turns to the dues payable to the priests (vv 8–20). Since the priests lack access to private means of support they are to receive the terumah contributions (the holy things) from the community at large. These include the appropriate parts of the cereal, purification and reparation offerings, along with the firstfruits of the produce of the land and all the firstborn of animals and men. Resources come from the firstborn by means of a system of financial redemption. The Levites also receive tithes (vv 21–24), the traditional exaction of one tenth, but from these receipts they must make their own contribution to the priests (vv 25–32).
Budd, P. J. (1984). Numbers (Vol. 5, p. 207). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Application: Although the priests did not receive an allotment of land, they were taken care of with the tithes that they received from the people of Israel. However, they themselves were required to tithe a tenth to the Lord. The purpose of the tithe was to teach the Israelites to trust the Lord, for it is God who provides.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for providing so generously.