I’ve had a busy week, but I’ve read through Numbers 27. How’re you doing? And by the way, am I the only poor slob out there who struggles with envy? Judging from your responses, I’m guessing so. You must be a pretty Holy audience. Wish I were so accomplished!

Today, rather than camp on a whole concept, I’d like to make some observations and derive some simple applications. Try these on for size:

In Numbers 24 the King of Balak asks the prophet Balaam to come curse Israel. This story is where all those “talking donkey” jokes come from. To be honest, I don’t quite understand why the Angel of the LORD stands in the donkey’s pathway. But I love this quote from Balaam. “I told you that I could say only what the LORD says.” And here is my application: Oh that I could be that wise!

As a speaker, it’s so tempting to add my own two cents worth at every opportunity. I like to wax eloquent, to sound clever and wise, to share my opinion whenever I take the microphone. But how much of what I say has any real value? I wish that I could learn to say ONLY what the Lord says, and nothing more. THAT would be discipline!

In Numbers 26, Moses takes another census of the Israelites. Isn’t it interesting that God absolutely KEPT his promise regarding those who would perish in the desert? The word says, “Not one person that was counted in this census had been among those counted in the previous census taken by Moses and Aaron…” When I was young, my dad used to say, “the most important thing a father can do is to keep his word.” My observation from this text is that God keeps his word absolutely – both his word to bless and his word to punish. In Numbers, God keeps his promise to punish the Israelites who won’t believe him. Does that tell us He will keep his promise toward those who don’t believe and trust in his Son Jesus? I think so.

I think it’s a picture of the punishment awaiting those who refuse to believe.

In Numbers 27, where the daughters of Zelophehad come to Moses asking for an inheritance in the Promised Land, God responds, “The daughters are right… You must give them an inheritance of land along with their father’s relatives.” Remember the context of this passage. Certainly this was not the season of women’s rights. They didn’t vote. They didn’t choose their own spouses. They didn’t have property rights. And yet GOD goes out of his way to establish the rights of women to inherit and possess land. It is the first of many indications that God values women. In the midst of a sometimes misogynistic church, that encourages me.

My last observation comes from Numbers 25, where some Israelite men get sexually involved with Moabites. In the end, these men begin worshipping the gods of Moab. Here is my observation: All through scripture, God admonishes his people to stay pure. In the New Testament, he tells believers NOT to marry believers. In the OT, God tells his people not to intermarry with the natives of the Promised Land. This story illustrates how easy it is for believers to be sidetracked. “Oh mom, I’d never believe like he does. We’re just friends.” But the Word is full of examples where believers become entangled in idolatry, when they abandon the principle of marrying within the faith.

It’s another one to share with your kids. Begin before dating is even in the picture. Talk about these examples. Help your kids see that no believer ever INTENDS to fall for an unbeliever. It happens when we aren’t careful to guard our heart, when we don’t commit to obedience and avoid every possible temptation. It isn’t easy.

It’s just essential.

So, did you see something I’ve missed? Bette

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