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|Posted on March 2, 2011 at 7:27 AM|
The Bible readings for March 2 are Numbers 22 – 24 and Mark 8:14 – 38. Our focus moves from Moses and the Israelites to Balak, Balaam and his donkey, as well as his prophecies. Balak was concerned the Israelites would devour everything in sight, like an ox devours grass. Looking at the situation, Balak felt it best if Balaam cursed the Israelites, for then he may be able to defeat them and drive them from the land. God makes it very clear to Balaam that these Israelites are blessed by Him, and cursing them is a no-no. Balak heard Balaam’s response, and was not satisfied with it. Four times Balaam prophesied blessings upon the Israelites, and not the curses Balak so desperately desired. Of course, Balaam and his donkey is an important part of this story. Now there is one talking donkey I have heard speak in the Shrek movies, but in this case, Balaam’s donkey is empowered by God to speak. The donkey is taking Balaam to meet Balak, something that God was not keen on Balaam doing. Along the journey, an angel of God appeared three times, and each time the donkey acted in an odd manner. Now, Balaam was unable to see the angel, until such time God opened Balaam’s eyes. Balaam beat the poor donkey for its disobedience, unaware an angel was trying to block his way. Balaam realises his sin, and chooses to return home. God has different ideas. In allowing Balaam to meet with Balak, Balaam could only speak the words God gave him to say. Hence only blessings flowed from Balaam’s mouth for the Israelites. Jesus Christ is even foretold in Balaam’s final prophecies. In Mark, the disciples are concerned about the one loaf of bread they have with them in the boat. Out of the seven basketfuls of food left over from Jesus feeding the four thousand, the disciples appear to have only grabbed one extra loaf for themselves. Jesus uses their thinking about bread to redirect their thoughts to the Pharisees and Herod. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod,” Jesus said. These men were evil influences, teaching the people wrong things and hypocritical in their actions. We need to be aware today of similar people who distort the truth of God’s Word, and whose actions do not come from a faith in Jesus. I love how people brought a blind man to Jesus, and that they begged Him to touch and heal the man. Interestingly, Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. This is a very personal moment. Jesus spent time with this man. The healing came in two stages. In the first instance, he could see, but not clearly. In the second, he could see everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, and told him not to go into the village on his way home. As Jesus and His disciples walk along, Jesus asks them, “Who do people say I am?” Hearing the responses, Jesus takes it a step further. “Who do you say I am?” Good old Peter blurts out, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus did not refute this, but instead warned the disciples not to spread this to the crowds. Following on from Peter’s declaration, Jesus opens up to the disciples about what will happen to Him. He would be killed, and three days later would rise again. How hard it must have been for the disciples to hear Jesus talk of such things, and Peter especially took exception at these words. Peter does not think it a good idea for Jesus to talk the way He is, and Jesus tells Peter in no uncertain words that He is seeing things from a merely human point of view, and not from God’s. Jesus came to fulfil Mission 3:16, but for now, Peter was unaware of what this entailed. He soon realised Jesus was fair dinkum about what would take place in the future. Receive Jesus now and have life eternal. Push Jesus aside now and you miss out on being with Jesus for eternity. It is in this life we choose to either follow or ignore Jesus. The decision we make now will affect where we spend eternity.
Categories: Read Your Bible In A Year