Numbers 25:3: “So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel.”

November 3rd, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

In the last few chapters, Balak, king of the Moabites, frightened at the size and threat of the children of Israel, asked Balaam, the backslidden prophet, to curse them. But no matter how many times Balaam tried to curse them, he could only ever bless them. After this, the Israelites began to form relationships with the Moabites, and committed “harlotry with the women of Moab. [The Moabites] invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods” (Num. 25:1–2). Revelation adds to this, revealing that Balaam taught Balak how “to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:14).

Through the ungodly advice of Balaam, the Moabites and the Midianites found a backdoor way to defeat God’s people. These worshippers of the idol Baal successfully introduced their daughters to the young Hebrew men, who became ensnared and enamored by them and were drawn into lewd acts of idol worship. In fact, one young Israelite was bold enough to bring a Midianite woman home, right in front of Moses, which didn’t end well for either of them. Balaam understood that idol worship would bring God’s displeasure on His people. And so, what Balak dared not attempt by war and could not bring about by sorcery, he accomplished by sexual immorality and the worship of false idols.

There is an important lesson here for every believer, even 3400 years later. If the Devil can’t overcome believers as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), he tries to overcome them as a serpent, through deception and cunning. We need to be careful as we bring the good news to the world around us, being aware of the dangers that come with having friendships with the enemies of God’s Kingdom. We must take care to avoid their snares and gifts, which could be used by Satan to bring us to destruction. Balaam thought that Israel’s sins of false religion and immorality would move God to destroy them completely. However, Balaam misunderstood God’s grace. God did discipline His people for their sin, but because of His amazing grace and faithfulness, He never left or forsook them, and He has promised to never leave or forsake us either. We sometimes stumble and fall, but He is waiting for us to turn to Him in sincere repentance, that we might again be cleansed and brought back into fellowship with Him.

“LORD forgive our sins and create in us a clean heart and clean hands today so that we can serve You.”