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February 21 - Evening

"While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.
The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”
So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”

- Numbers 25:1-5

Israel Can Not Be Cursed, but They Can Be Punished for Sin


Balaam could not curse Israel for the Moabites and Midianites, because the Lord had blessed Israel. Instead, Balaam’s prophecies blessed Israel, so King Balak said,
“I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times. Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.” – Numbers 24:10-11

Balaam could not receive his payment by cursing Israel, but he did do his research and discovered that though Israel had not been cursed by God, they had certainly had their fair share of difficulties including being sentenced to forty years of wandering in the wilderness and among plagues, fires and death they had most recently been attacked by poisonous serpents. Balaam discovered that even though God would not curse the Israelites he would strike them in punishment for sinning against him. The way for Balaam to recover his lost financial compensation was to cause Israel to sin.
Upon Balaam’s advice King Balak sent his Moabite women down among the Israelite men to entice them to engage in immorality and to sacrifice to the Moabite god, the Baal of Peor. As a result the Lord literally commands Moses to “take the leaders of the people and impale them to Yahweh before the sun.” Impaling would be execution by being pierced through with a pole and then suspended on that pole for everyone to see and for the Lord’s judgment to be evident. After the Israelite leaders who allowed this immorality to occur where executed and exposed on a pole, then all the people who “yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor” were killed.
This is the first mention of the god Baal in the Old Testament. Israel would struggle for the next 900 years with their attraction to Baal worship.
Analogia (Gr) – Proportion (Eng) – analogia is a Greek word that means the right relation, result or coincidences in a relationship between two things or facts. Analogia is used by Paul in Romans 12:6 to say that our gifts and faith must be proportion to what God is doing or has given us. We cannot go beyond what he has done without being out of balance. Analogia does not mean “equal,” but it means “proportionate.”
There is always punishment for sin. Paul warns us in Galatians 6:7, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." Even though I am saved and blessed with all the spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 3:1), yet I will live righteously and avoid sin so that I do not come under the Lord's punishment (1 Cor. 11:31-32).



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Improved understanding of love

Church

Evangelism
Revival
Armenia



Standing on the East wall of the city of Jerusalem looking south. The Lions' Gate is just a few feet in front and the Eastern Gate is further down the wall. The Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives are to the left (east).
Details of Herod Agrippa II's palace at Banais (or, Caesarea Philippi) are seen in this diagram with the actual remains being seen in the background.




Someone to Quote

“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.” 
- G.K. Chesterton

Something to Ponder

9 out of 10 Americans who identify with a religion are Christian (2007).

82% of Americans told Gallup they identified with a Christian religion.

51% Protestant
23% Catholic
5% Other Christian
3% Named a Christian Faith
2% Mormon
11% No religion
2% Did Not Answer (Details)

Here’s a Fact

Several samples of the Persian coin from before 333 BC with the inscription YHD, or the Persian name for the province of Judah, have been found. The coin is a silver half gerah with a lily, a symbol of Jerusalem, on the obverse and a falcon (or, an eagle) with the Aramaic letters YHD for Yehud, or Judah, on the reverse.
(Images. Details here and here.) (More about Bible coins here)

Proverb

"Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin."
- Proverbs 21:4

Coach’s Corner

God knows –

• The situation you are facing
• The answer you are seeking
• The past you are leaving
• The needs you are lacking
• The future you are entering
• The ministry you are completing
• The people you are loving

God knows, so ask him for help, direction, clarity, provision, protection, ability, opportunity and compassion.

Romans 12:6
New International Version (NIV)
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
Ephesians 1:3
New International Version (NIV)
Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32
New International Version (NIV)
31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
Numbers 12
New International Version (NIV)
Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses
12 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.
(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words:
“When there is a prophet among you,     I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,     I speak to them in dreams.

But this is not true of my servant Moses;     he is faithful in all my house.

With him I speak face to face,     clearly and not in riddles;     he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid     to speak against my servant Moses?”
The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.
10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease, 11 and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.”
13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!”
14 The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.
16 After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.
Leviticus 25
New International Version (NIV)
The Sabbath Year
25 The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
The Year of Jubilee
“‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
13 “‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.
14 “‘If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. 15 You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. 16 When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops. 17 Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.
18 “‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. 19 Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. 20 You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” 21 I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. 22 While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.
23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. 24 Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
25 “‘If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. 26 If, however, there is no one to redeem it for them but later on they prosper and acquire sufficient means to redeem it themselves, 27 they are to determine the value for the years since they sold it and refund the balance to the one to whom they sold it; they can then go back to their own property. 28 But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property.
29 “‘Anyone who sells a house in a walled city retains the right of redemption a full year after its sale. During that time the seller may redeem it. 30 If it is not redeemed before a full year has passed, the house in the walled city shall belong permanently to the buyer and the buyer’s descendants. It is not to be returned in the Jubilee. 31 But houses in villages without walls around them are to be considered as belonging to the open country. They can be redeemed, and they are to be returned in the Jubilee.
32 “‘The Levites always have the right to redeem their houses in the Levitical towns, which they possess. 33 So the property of the Levites is redeemable—that is, a house sold in any town they hold—and is to be returned in the Jubilee, because the houses in the towns of the Levites are their property among the Israelites. 34 But the pastureland belonging to their towns must not be sold; it is their permanent possession.
35 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. 37 You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
39 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.
44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
47 “‘If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, 48 they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves. One of their relatives may redeem them: 49 An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in their clan may redeem them. Or if they prosper, they may redeem themselves. 50 They and their buyer are to count the time from the year they sold themselves up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for their release is to be based on the rate paid to a hired worker for that number of years. 51 If many years remain, they must pay for their redemption a larger share of the price paid for them. 52 If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they are to compute that and pay for their redemption accordingly. 53 They are to be treated as workers hired from year to year; you must see to it that those to whom they owe service do not rule over them ruthlessly.
54 “‘Even if someone is not redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, 55 for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.


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