Tag Archives: Baal worship

If God Be For Us . . . .

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!

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Boy King acts Like a Man

2 Kings 22-23 is the account of Josiah the 8 year old king of Judah and how he grows into a man of God. When we left off Kings Hezekiah was sick and asked the Lord to heal him and extend his life. God hears his prayers and grants him 15 more years to live. The are not productive years, for he acts foolish during those years with prideful boasting of the riches in the Temple. He also has a son names Manasseh, the most wicked immoral king Judah ever had. He worshipped the god Molech and makes Judah sin by throwing their sons into the fire to appease Molech. Now it makes you wonder sometimes, if it would have been better for Hezekiah to have died earlier instead of getting a longer life? We would not have had Manasseh or Amon the two wicked idolatrous kings rule over Judah; but then again we would have had Josiah as king either. Amon doesn’t reign very long as king, I suppose the people got tired of all the idolatry. Anyway Josiah becomes king at 8 years old. At 18 we read that he tells all the money collected in the Temple tax from the people to be used to restore and repair the dilapidated Temple of Solomon. Incidentally; Jeremiah begins his prophetic ministry during this time. [See Jeremiah 1]

A sad commentary happens when the priest Hilkiah tells Shaphan the scribe that he has found the “book of the Law” in the ruins of the Temple. Now before you get to thinking too far in advance – the Temple had not been attacked by outsiders, but had been neglected by the people of God. I have seen this happen in my time as pastor, where the Church facility had become a disgrace to the Lord and the public because it had not been cared for properly. Some may be saying right now that the Church isn’t the building – sure but it is the place of worship and people come to it to worship – what statement does your church facilities say about your commitment to God? The community does notice such things. The sad thing here is the Temple [Church] is in ruins from neglect, yet there was plenty of money to do what was necessary – in fact they didn’t even keep strict accounting of what was spent! Back to the Book of the Law, most likely it is the Book of Deuteronomy. When it is read Josiah tears his clothes in sorrow and repentence.

I have an outline for you here:

Remember, read, repent, restore and reform.

This is what happened when Josiah heard the Word of God. It sound like it could be a prescription for revitalization and revival.¬† Josiah this child King will bring glory back to the House of the Lord, and begin tearing down the “high places” that his grandfather and father built and maintained. It is said that Josiah did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord. Josiah had to tear down the high places that even Solomon built for Ashtoreth and Baal. The reason they were built¬† was Solomon married many foreign women as a means to keep peace on his borders; but the result was apostasy for Judah.

Josiah does extensive reforms during his short time as king [31 years]; the problem was that it was a result of Josiah coming under convictions and repentance not the people. For as soon as Josiah dies [because of an ill-advised war] the people and priesthood return to idolatry with Baal.

In chapter 23:21 a very confusing statement – Josiah commands that the Passover be reinstituted, for it had not been observed since the time of the Judges. What is the world? That’s over 500 years of failure to remember what God did miraculously at the Red Sea and Egypt? Scripture also tells us that Josiah removes the “mediums, spiritisms, teraphim, idols and all the abominations.” How low Judah had fallen; yet we cannot say much because if we look at our own churches and nation, we will be indicted for our idolatry – oh that we would remember the Word of the Lord, Read it and Repent of our sins, begin to restore the glory of God back to His place of worship and institute Reforms for the Church and the Community. Sadly, Josiah was the las king to have favorable comments from the Lord about him.

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