Numbers 22:21-23:30, Luke 1:57-80, Psalms 58:1-11, Proverbs 11:12-13
Today is the 15th day of March. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is a pleasure and a joy to be here with you as we prepare end another work week and head into the weekend and this week we’ve been reading from the English Standard Version, which is what we will do all the way through tomorrow. And obviously, we’re gonna pick up where we left off yesterday with this drama, this guy Balaam whose been called in by this king named Balak to curse his hoard of people that seems to be moving in around him. So, we’ll pick up that story. Numbers chapter 22 verse 21 through 23 verse 30 today.
Okay. So, there’s a lot that we covered today. Where do we start? Let’s start the Old Testament. So, we’ve got this drama going on between Balak who’s the king of Moab and Balaam whose some sort of prophetic person, a person who has the ability to curse and bless. And he’s not from among the people of Israel and yet, as we’re reading it in the Scriptures he is communicating with God and God is speaking to him. So, lest we think, as we’re reading the Old Testament, the only people God ever spoke to were the Hebrew slaves, the children of Israel who were delivered from Egypt, that would not be the case. And we have a pretty valuable lesson to learn from Balaam. So, Balak sent an entourage to Balaam, a high-ranking entourage to Balaam and asked him to come curse Israel. God told him, “don’t go”. So, he didn’t go. So, the people returned. And, so, Balak, the king, sent an even more prestigious entourage to Balaam with a message and essentially the promise of wealth, riches, prestige and honor. And, so, Balaam prayed and God said, “go back with them, but only say what I tell you to say.” So, Balaam spent the night and there’s this…this thought of, “well God wouldn’t let me go the first time but He is telling me I can go this second time as long as I say only the things that He says, but if he’s letting me go then He must be gonna let me go to say good things.” And, so, “I’m about to get rich maybe. Maybe God is gonna let me get rich off of this.” So, the next day Balaam gets up and gets on his donkey and we have the three incidents where an angel with a drawn sword is standing in the path not wanting Balaam to go. So, it’s like, what is going on here? First God says don’t go then God says do go and then God sends an angel with a drawn sword in the path to keep him from going. What’s happening here? It all gets revealed as we go through the story. The angel is blocking the path. The donkey is veering aside. Finally, the donkey sits down. Balaam is so mad that he would kill the donkey and then the donkey speaks to Balaam and Balaam answers the donkey as if this is a normal thing. All I can figure is that he’s so mad he doesn't…he’s like so enraged he doesn’t understand what’s happening. He’s talking to a donkey and in effect the donkey’s saying, “have I ever done anything like this before? Why are you so mad at me?” Balaam then reveals his heart, “because you have made a fool of me”. And there it is. Balak sent high ranking officials of Moab with the promise of honor and prestige and wealth. Balaam went and his donkey’s acting unruly and Balaam doesn’t want to look stupid in front of these people. That is a profound weakness that could have undid Balaam had he got before the king of Moab with all of the royalty and all of the nobles. He wouldn’t want to look like a fool and only say what God told him to say. And, so, his weakness was being exposed along the way so that when he got to do the mission that God wanted him to do he was very clear on his instructions. So, we can look for ourselves in Balaam’s story and find ourselves in Balaam’s story when we find ourselves conforming to an environment even when we’ve been sent by God to do something, find ourselves conforming to an environment and all of the sudden find ourselves doing things that we would not otherwise even consider. And before you know it we’re in the mud pit again, but the story isn’t over and the parallels to our lives aren’t over. We can certainly find ourselves in the early parts of Balaam’s story, but now let’s go to Balak and become Balak for a second. There’s a problem for Balak. There’s a horde of people that are very powerful moving into his territory. He would like to get rid of them, but other people who have tried to get rid of them have lost. He calls for a man of God. The man of God finally comes. So, he’s excited about that and he takes the man of God to covertly view a part of this horde and they make sacrifices and God blesses them. And, so, Balak is mad and what does he do? He takes him to another place to look at God’s people and God isn’t going to curse His own people. And, so, Balaam informs Balak that these people are not cursed, and no curse is going to work. And, so, what does Balak do? He takes him to another place. We do this too. We might ask God for something. We might hear God say, “no that’s not healthy for you”, and so where like, “well come over here and look at it from this angle” and the answer’s still no…and so “come over here and look at it from this angle”, right? We’ll keep going until we get what we want. And God is kind and He is a gentleman and one of the ways that we are created in His image is that we are allowed to make choices. And, so, at some point He’ll say if that’s what you’re going to do then that’s what you’re going to do and then we go and do it thinking that we’ve convinced God from some special angle, it doesn’t work out, its destructive and then we blame God. This is such a mess when we do this. It’s so unfair. Thankfully in this story Balaam got the message and he wouldn’t be persuaded to speak outside of what God told him to say because he had a good memory of an angel with a drawn sword. So, he probably felt like he wouldn’t be making it home if he didn’t obey God, but we sure watch Balak try to change the story by looking at things from a different view. And sometimes friends, no means no. Sometimes when the Lord is not in something we’re not going to convince Him to get on board and when we go off on our own, I mean, how many more times we gotta go around that track before we get it through our heads that it never works out? So, there is plenty for us to put in our cup and stir around as we move into the weekend from the Old Testament.
From the gospel of Luke, John the Baptist is born today and I don’t necessarily have something to apply to our lives about this other than I just want to point out some context because often when we read the Gospels we think John the Baptist just showed up out of the wilderness eating grasshoppers and wild honey and had some kind of, you know, loin cloth made out of fur and he’s just this odd dude coming in out of the wilderness and the people are coming down to be baptized and he just shows up. He didn’t just show up. His father was a priest. His father was in the temple of God when an angel appeared to him foretelling the birth of John. When he came out of the temple everybody knew something had happened because he couldn’t speak. Zechariah, who was John’s father, could not talk, right? This is happening in Jerusalem in the temple. This was not an obscure unknown thing. So, when the baby is born, and the baby is born in their old age and they name him John and Zechariah’s mouth is open so that he can prophesy about his son, this is not an unknown thing. So, later on John will be arrested by the king, by Herod, for political reasons because Herod was having an affair and married his brother Philip’s wife. So, John condemned that, and that got John killed, but the religious elite, now let us remember, Zechariah, John’s father, was a priest, one of the religious leaders. Later on they distanced themselves from John, right? They won’t declare that he was a prophet of God but the people view him as a prophet of God, not only because of the power that is in his words and in his call to repentance, but because of his heritage, because of his story. And Jesus has a similar story when he showed up on the radar and we’ll talk about that when we come to it, but the point is, something was buzzing around John and Zechariah and Elizabeth before John was ever born. So, John would’ve grown up under that shadow where people would have wondered his whole life, “what is going to become of him” because that’s what the Scriptures say they were doing at his birth. So, sometimes we might wonder…I mean…we can read the Gospels and not even ever wonder this - like John showed up and then Jesus showed up and that was that and they were famous and it was because of miracles, but actually there’s a story before the story and we can see glimpses of it if we’re looking for it just like we’re doing with John today. He wasn’t some random dude coming in out of the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord and baptizing people. There were prophecies over his life from his father who was a priest who had been serving in the temple. So, this was a known thing.
Father, we thank you for your word and we thank you for the way that it will penetrate and expose our behaviors and make us look in the mirror at ourselves as it has done in the Old Testament in the book of numbers today and we thank you for the repetition, for the times we read through the Gospels and the more and more that the story begins to unfold before us and we feel a part of how things came to be because this is our story too. So, come Holy Spirit, plant the word of God in our lives today changing us irreversibly from within. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hi family, this is Stanley from Maryland. I’m reaching out to pray for Elisa’s daughter Lisa from Illinois. You said you have a daughter and she’s 16 and she’s struggling with drug use and I want to pray for her. Father, thank You for Elisa’s daughter. Father, I remember when I struggled with marijuana, taking drugs, trying to fit in be cool and be social and it wasn’t…it wasn’t all that fun after a while. And so, I thank You for giving me the opportunity to not be around that any longer. I just want to thank You for Elisa and Elisa’s daughter. And Your word says in 2 Peter 3:9 that You’re not really being slow about Your promise as some people think. No, You are…You are being patient for our sake and You don’t want anyone to be destroyed but You want everyone __. So, God on behalf of Elisa’s daughter from Illinois we pray that…we pray that her daughter can repent. I don’t know who’s gonna come into her life or what’s gonna happen that may change. Maybe someone…a friend she meets will help her to change her, help her to see that she doesn’t have to do these things or something will happen that will help Elisa’s daughter to see that she doesn’t have to do this anymore, this is taking the place of God in her life. We pray for that. I know for me it was someone reaching out to me and inviting me into their life who was a Christian. So, God we thank You that it’s already done and we continue praying and seeking Your face for Elisa’s daughter in Jesus’ name.
Hello Daily Audio Bible. I want to pray for my sister and my friend Luca. They both have a fever and my sister stayed home today from school and she slept almost the whole day and my friend Luca, he didn’t go to school today and I want to pray for them.
Hey everybody, this is Linda from New Hampshire. I hope you can hear me alright I’m in my car on my way to work but I just finished listening to the March 12th podcast and I just want to thank you Candace for sharing so beautifully your relationship with Brad. You know, that really touched my heart. As sad as this may sound, I have never known that kind of love from my man. I’ve been married twice and they’ve both been abusive unfortunately. So, I just really __ my husband. It’s so sad, it may be long for experiencing that someday by God’s grace, God’s will. And if not, I will continue to hold on to him as my husband and my partner and trusting Him. So, thank you for sharing that. And I just wanted to wish everyone a very blessed, blessed week. I’m praying for each of you and little Noah, praying against those seizures and I appreciate everybody who calls in asking for prayer but also those who call in and pray because sometimes I don’t have the words. I can hear someone’s prayer request and I just don’t have the words and a couple days later I’ll hear somebody call in and pray and I’ll say like, “yes that’s it, that’s exactly what it needed here.” And, so, love you all. Have a great day. Keep me in your prayers please. Things are still happening but I’m keeping my eyes on the Lord. Blessings to everyone.
Hi there, my name’s Jake. I live in Utah and I’ve been listening to the Daily Audio Bible basically since the start of the year. I’ve been a Christian since…well…I was raised Christian but really Jesus converted me and put his Holy Spirit in me in 2012 and brought me out a lot of dark stuff, a lot of hard core drugs and addiction and this last year I’ve had a pretty pretty tough time, I’ve relapsed and I can’t get a hold of my struggles. I’m essentially…I used a lot of LSD and I feel so alone…I work in a Christian company. I’ve talked to my friends about this but I keep falling back into it. I’m very active in my church and I just…I don’t know what to do, I don’t know people that…yeah, yeah, just yeah, just pray for me. I’m pretty…pretty frustrated and despairing at times. I trust the Lord. I know who He is and what He’s done to my heart and life, but sometimes it really freaks me out that I’ve resubmitted myself to these fleshly patterns and that I can’t seem to find a way out. So, yeah, pray for me. I pray for you guys, listen to it every day. So, thanks. Bye.
Hi daily audio Bible it’s Megan Kelly from London. I called, oh, I think a couple of weeks ago and just calling again. I’ve got a prayer request and a praise report. Best get to it quickly. First with a prayer request. Unfortunately, one of my colleague’s dear friends actually, she went to a __ day and she went out for the weekend and in a nearby city __ she went with her friends and I don’t know the details but I know her friend went missing. Obviously, we’re all very concerned for her to be missing for two days now. So, just pray that you’re keeping, her friends and family all in your prayers so that they hopefully find her, but in the meantime also feel the presence and find all the peace they can. So, that’s the prayer request. I also have a praise report. And I actually for Lent decided to try and really focus on listening a bit more to the community prayers and I have been listening to the Daily Audio Bible on my commute to work every day. So, I manage to listen five days a week and I realize that the buildup of the community prayers was getting quite big and I wasn’t sure how I was going to listen to them all. I think they’re fantastic. And, so I finally started listening to them just in tiny little bursts so when I walking to the station or if I’m popping out of the office to buy lunch and I’m finding I’m actually getting through it quite quickly and finding I want to listen more __ I just feel connected to you guys. So, yeah, I just wanted to thank the Lord that I found this, and it’s given me more inner peace, which I was really needing. I was __ broken for the last year and I just hope that the same can be done for the rest of you. I know a lot of people having hard times and will keep you all in my prayers. Okay.