Numbers 22-27; the partial verse quote in the title is finished with “Who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
I chose that verse because in our reading we are confronted with Balak and Balaam. Balak is the King of Moab, the son of Zippor. A better understanding is that Moab is the off-spring of Lot and his incest relationship with his daughters after Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. When Israel moves in the Wilderness to Moab area, Balak is fearful of the amount of people and feels threatened by their presence in His land. So he engages Balaam from Pethor to cast a curse on the people of Israel. Balaam seeks God, but tells Balak that he can only speak those things God says to him. This happens three times in our reading. Each time Balaam has Balak construct a sacrifice to the LORD. But what happens instead of cursing Israel, they are blessed. Finally, Balak tells Balaam not to Bess or curse them. Also in this narrative is the people of Midian – who are the result of Abraham’s second marriage in Genesis 25. I found this to be odd that God would have Moses strike them down. [Numbers 25:16-18] I found this odd because Jethro the Midianite, took Moses in and he married Zipporah who was a Midianite. Okay, I’ll admit I do not have the Wisdom of God. Anyway, all the attempts to destroy the people of Israel is thwarted by Balaam’s seeking God’s counsel.
We have in this reading the story of Balaam and his donkey. A real doctor Doolittle story of talking animals, or even a Shrek and donkey relationship. Anyway, the donkey sees the Angel of the LORD standing before Him three times with drawn sword and tries to avoid him; each time the donkey gets beat by Balaam for not going forward. When the donkey pleads his case to Balaam, Balaam talks back to him. Now help me a bit; talking donkeys are not the norm right? But Balaam talks to the donkey like it’s an everyday thing.
In chapter 24 we have the documented oracles of Balaam. An oracle is an opinion or wise counsel. In the oracles we read of the scepter of Jacob rising up. How that Amalek will be destroyed. We have to remember about Amalek from Exodus 17:8-16. In Numbers 24:7, the reference to Agag the king that King Saul did not kill in 1 Samuel 15:8, who shows up again in Esther in the person of Haman the Agagite. It is interesting with the connections that I have indicated that the enemies of Israel continue to show up generation to generation. We also have the oracles telling us of Jesus prophetical reign.
Now Balak is King of Moab, an idolatrous people who worship Baal. But God did not allow Balaam to evoke a curse on the people. But look what happens in chapter 25 of Numbers. Incidentally, I’m not sure that Israel was even aware that God was protecting them from Balak. But in Numbers 25; the anger of the LORD is brought against Israel – Why because they PLAYED THE HARLOT! What Balak couldn’t do – Israel did to themselves. “They played the harlot by taking the Moabites daughters as wives. Something they were strictly told not to do. The LORD tells Moses to bring the guilty leadership forward and parade them publicly before the people and execute them. Whoa, talk about putting the fear of God into people. I wonder what would happen if that occurred today? Like Annias and Sapphira in Acts 5! The “plague” was stayed because Aaron’s grandson ran a spear through a man from the tribe of Simeon and his Midianite woman. If we read this correctly, is this where the Levites become the “intercessors” for the people because the “provided atonement” in this situation? I think so. In the end there are 24,000 people killed for their rebellion. Isn’t it interesting that the down fall was a sensual downfall in that they “prostituted themselves to Baal for the sake of having the Moab women! Hold on now, think with me – Ruth is a Moabitess who marries Boaz and out of their union comes Jesse – David – Solomon and Jesus! Wow, I don’t understand it all. But there are the facts.
So God protects Israel from Balak’s attempts to destroy them – Balak being an ancestor of Lot and His daughters. Then we have God against the Midianites because the frustrated Israel while in the Wilderness. But Moses was helped by Jethro the priest of Midian, while he was on the run and he married Zipporah. But God is hostile towards them now – Numbers 25:16. Out of this disobedience of intermarriage, the Levitical priesthood is established. [Numbers 25:12-13]
If God be for us, no one can defeat us. But if we are disobedient towards God, there is no one to help us!