Scripture: Numbers 21-22. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
When Arad, the Canaanite king, learned that the Israelites were traveling along the road to Atharim, he attacked them and captured some of the people. The Israelites prayed to God to deliver them, and they destroyed the Canaanites. The Israelites then traveled from Mount Hor along the Red Sea to go around Edom. When the people began to complain, the Lord sent venomous snakes, and many of the people died. Moses prayed for the Israelites, after they requested, and God took the venomous snakes away. God told Moses to create a snake and put it on a pole. When any of them were bitten by a snake, they were to look at the bronze snake that Moses made, and they would live. The Israelites continued their journey to the plains of Moab. Balaam was someone who was called to place curses on others. The king of Moab wanted Balaam to use his powers to place a curse on the Israelites, hoping that God would turn against His people. Balak sent messengers to Balaam. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and the donkey saw the angel of the Lord and turned off the road, pressed close to a wall, and laid down. Balaam abused and beat the donkey. The donkey had saved Balaam’s life, but he had to answer to God. The angel of the Lord told Balaam to go with the princes of Balak.
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
The Israelites were healed of their snake bites and sicknesses by looking at the bronze snake. This can be compared to the fact that all believers today can be saved from their sickness of sin by looking to Jesus’ death on the cross. It was not the snake that healed the people but rather their belief that God could heal them. Just as Moses was assured by God that Israel’s enemy was already conquered before the battle had even started, God wants to give us victory over our own enemies. We must have complete trust and faith in Him, believe that He can help us with anything, and then take the steps that He tells us to. Just like Balaam did, we, too, can become blinded by the desires of life. We should instead look forward to the amazing benefits of following God and not the desires of life. Balaam’s donkey saved his life but made Balaam look foolish in the process, so he lashed out on the donkey. We, as humans, sometimes lash out on blameless people in life who we feel get in our way because we feel embarrassed or our pride gets bruised. We can’t allow our own hurts in life lead us to hurting others. We must treat others how we want to be treated, with respect and love, and take responsibility for our own actions.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for this beautiful day. We pray for protection over our loved ones and ourselves. Please forgive us for our sins, and help us to forgive others. Thank You, Father, for sending Your one and only son to die for us. Help us to have complete faith, trust, and belief in You and Your love for us. Please help us not to be blinded by the desires of life, but rather look forward to the long-term benefits of following You. Help us to treat others with respect and love instead of lashing out on blameless people in our lives. We love You and thank You. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.