Readings

  • Deuteronomy 34
  • Luke 9:27-36
  • Jude 9

Prayer

Pray… that unlike Moses, you won’t just glimpse the Promised Land… you’ll be there, through Jesus’ victory on the cross.

Day 90 – Moses’ Death

Moses’ death, his dead body & discussion with Jesus about the Cross

 

  • Well, we’ve spent a good month getting to know Moses as he battled to do the World’s Hardest Job, but with the astonishing privilege of seeing God face to face (which we, too, will one day do!). Describe the scene of Moses’ death. Where is he? What was the last thing he saw before he died?
  • Why do you think God gave Moses the glimpse we read in today’s final chapter of Deuteronomy? Does it seem a little unfair to you, or do you think it would have heartened Moses greatly to see it?
  • What does the bible say was unique about Moses?
  • How was Moses a good model leader for Joshua who came after?
  • The eagle-eyed among you may be wondering how Moses wrote about his own death. It’s possible that he was told about it before hand, but it’s probably more likely that this chapter was written by someone else, like Joshua. What did the author of this chapter, and the people, feel about Moses?
  • Our passage in Luke 9 recalls The Transfiguration, which is a moment where Jesus reveals his “inner glory” to a few of his closest disciples. Who talked with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration as He did so? What did they talk about?
  • What is the main thing to take away from this New Testament passage? Think about the situation. Peter, a Jew who followed Jesus, would have held Moses in very high esteem. He would have been a hero of the Old Testament. What would it have been like to see “Moses” alongside Jesus? When Jesus is the only one left at the end, what does that say about Jesus?
  • Think back on Moses’ life. We’ve seen his highs and lows for the last month or so now. Can you name three things you know about his character, or his relationship with God, or his actions that you didn’t know before? Has he become more than just a “bible character” in your mind now?
  • As you see the words of Deuteronomy 34:10 about Moses’ human greatness as a prophet, you should counter it with those of Deuteronomy 18:15-20 which foretold of a prophet greater still. Ultimately that will be Jesus. Think about the ways in which Moses has foreshadowed Jesus, and also some of the reasons why Jesus was greater.

 

If you’re in the mood to dig a bit deeper…

 

  • You could think about the verse in Jude. It’s not easy. You might want to do some online research about the verse. Think about the reality of angels and demons, the way the devil tries to tempt people, and the way the devil twists the sin we do. Don’t worry about it too much though – this isn’t a verse to get too focused on for this study. You can read more information about this passage at the link below.

 

And for everyone…

 

We’re pretty much at the end of the time in the wilderness now. In the readings on day 91 and 92 the Israelites will prepare to go into the Promised Land, and on day 93 they’ll make the journey. Over the next month we’re going to hear about the life in the Promised Land (and whether the Israelites can finally stop turning away from God), and look closely at the lives of Joshua the leader, the different judges (including super-strong Samson) and the godly-minded Ruth (and her kinsman redeemer Boaz). There are plenty of stories you won’t know that you can enjoy reading for the first time too!

 

Link: http://www.gotquestions.org/Michael-Satan-Moses.html

Readings

  • Deuteronomy 31
  • Deuteronomy 32
  • Hebrews 13:5-6

Prayer

Pray… that you will take joy and comfort from God’s promise that He will never leave you.

Day 89 – Joshua’s Calling

God calls Joshua to lead & promises to
never leave him

 

  • Today we see some of the final words of Moses as he prepares Joshua for the job of leading the people into the Promised Land. Moses’ words today are split. The first chapter is encouragement, warning, and the commission of Joshua in his role. The second is a lengthy (and thoughtful) poem of Moses of God’s response to Israel’s sin in the wilderness.
  • According to today’s first passage, how long did Moses live?
  • Can you remember why he didn’t cross the Jordan river and wasn’t allowed into the Promised Land? You’ll find God’s direct comments on this matter int he final paragraphs of Deuteronomy 32.
  • How often (and at what feast) was the Law to be read out to the people? You can read about this in Deuteronomy 31:9-13. Why did the people need this regular reading of the Law?
  • We need regular teaching too – and I don’t mean every seven years! We encourage you to come to all church activities because its there that you will forge a deeper relationship with Jesus as you study and understand His word. We come to church for many good reasons, but it should primarily be to deepen our relationship with God and worship Him – everything else should be secondary!
  • What does God tell Moses about the future of Israel? Deuteronomy 31:14 onward will help you. What does this tell you about God’s patience and love for His people?
  • I like verses 7-8 of our first reading today. There is a similar reprise in verse 23. It’s a reminder that we’ll see several times in the next few days, but it’s worth mentioning each and every time it pops up! Be strong and courageous! You certainly do need those qualities to stand up for Jesus, don’t you? I do pray for you all that you will know that God will be with you in all situations too. Perhaps you could write this verse in the front of your journal.
  • What warning did Moses have for the people as chapter 31 concludes? Does it apply to us?
  • How might you sum up Moses’ themes in the song of chapter 32? When you read it, you may like to try to sing it in your head to a made-up tune. That might sound silly, but it will help you to read it carefully!
  • What do you think the people would have felt as they listened to the poem’s warnings?
  • How did you feel as Deuteronomy 32 closed? It’s rather poignant, I thought. What about you?

 

Whilst the challenge to be bold and courageous was given to Joshua, it is of course relevant for us as we go ahead into “battle” in our lives, pushing forward with courage with the promise of a Great Land ahead of us. God will never leave us, or forsake us. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged! We’ll look at this theme again in a few days’ time.

 

Spend a moment or two thinking about how the camp would have been thinking and preparing for the events to come, especially in the knowledge (as we see right at the end of chapter 32) that Moses would soon be leaving them. Moses, despite bearing much of the flak from the people for the last 40 years, had nevertheless been a pivotal figure in the leadership of the people, and they would soon have to come to terms with the idea of pushing into Canaan without their faithful leader.

 

Tomorrow, we’ll say goodbye to Moses and think more about his legacy – as well as a final surprising connection with Jesus!

Readings

  • None… unless you need to catch up!

Prayer

A day off from reading is not a day off from praying or living as a Christian. Pray for something that’s on your heart today.

Day 88 – Day Off

 

Enjoying the fun and games of Coronavirus? 😀

 

Tomorrow marks the start of a new period of the Old Testament and it should be really interesting.

 

I’m posting an image which is super helpful to get your head around the Old Testament. I suggest printing it out and finding where we are up to and keeping it as a handy reference guide as we go so you have a focus for how the readings we’re looking at fit together. Don’t worry if most of it doesn’t make sense yet!

 

Readings

  • Deuteronomy 9
  • Deuteronomy 10
  • Psalm 78:40-59

Prayer

Pray… that you will be ever grateful for God’s faithfulness, even when you are in rebellion of Him.

Day 87 – The Story of Their Rebellion

Reviewing Israel’s rebellion & God’s redemption

 

  • Today is the last of our readings looking at parts of  Moses’ sermon to the Israelite people. What exciting event is just about to happen (look at the start of the reading)?
  • Why is God about to drive out the nations who are currently in the Promised Land? Is it because of Israel’s righteousness and general awesomeness? Focus in on verses 4 and 5 of Deuteronomy 9 to find out, as well as the much of the rest of the chapter! It was common at the time to think of winning battles as an indication of a nation’s righteousness. God warned against thinking like that.
  • How does Moses describe the people as he recalls the different stories?
  • How do you think the people would have felt as they heard the stories about their parents, such as one that dominates our readings about the sorry affair of the golden calf?
  • What do we learn about God’s mercy in these passages? Does He have a short temper or is He full of repeated grace, mercy and forgiveness?
  • How does this give us hope for ourselves, and the knowledge of all the times in our history where we’ve rebelled against God?
  • If God is always merciful to us, does that mean that there are no consequences for our sin? Why?
  • Deuteronomy 10:12-22 is a real focal point. Not only are we told to “fix” our hearts, but we are told to love the “sojourner”, which means stranger or foreigner. God reminds them that they were sojourners in Egypt. How are we like sojourners ourselves?  How have we been loved?
  • Psalm 78 gives a poetic interpretation of Israel during the time in the Egypt and the desert. The passage appears to ends abruptly in verse 59, but be sure to understand that when it says God “utterly rejected Israel”, it means he cut off the people who were originally rescued from Egypt. He did, of course, act mercifully to their descendants who enjoyed the fruits of the Promised Land to come.

 

Think about the structure of these words in Deuteronomy. Moses carefully maps out the historical sin that took place 39 or so years earlier by the people, and how God showed His mercy throughout, despite their being consequences for their sin. And look where they are now. They are a mighty nation and on the very edge of entering into the land that was promised all those years ago to their (very) great grandfather. It’s an awesome moment from an awesome God who keeps His promises. Now all Israel have to do is learn from their past sin and march forward to the blessings to come, loving and serving their redeeming Lord. I wonder how well they’ll do…!

 

We’re about to skip twenty chapters of Moses’ history lesson in Deuteronomy. You may want to cast your eyes over them briefly to see if anything interesting catches you. Next week the sermons stop and the battle for the new land begins with the warrior Joshua. I can’t wait to dig into it with you guys.

7Readings

  • Deuteronomy 6:6-25
  • Deuteronomy 11
  • 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Prayer

Pray… that God’s commands will be written in your heart, your diary, your wall, your gate… everywhere!

Day 86 – How to Raise Children

Parents should obey the Word & teach the WorD

 

It’s amazing how often God works in this way, but today I’m writing the notes for the passages below after just having a chat with Harry and Jonah about loving other people (starting with our parents!) in the face of the recent Coronavirus pandemic. Today’s passages wonderfully and practically link in with that. Recently I’ve been challenging the boys to live practical lives of obedience that shows that we know the worthiness of God’s Word, and about challenging each other when we see areas in each other’s words and actions that don’t proclaim Jesus as Lord. Today we’ll think a little more about obeying God, teaching others, and being taught ourselves.

 

  • Today’s passages were quite a read, but shouldn’t have been too tough. Before we look at them, here’s a question. What have you learned about God from your parents? Are you grateful to your parents for their teaching?
  • Do you ever teach your parents things? Parents are continually working at obeying God’s Word, just like you. How have you encouraged them?
  • God wants us to know His commands for us. It’s clear why. Loving God – and following Him – can only come from living by His Word, and we can only do that if we know it. That’s one of the reasons for One Story!
  • Remember my list yesterday of times of the day when you can practically think about serving God? Well, a similar list appears in today’s first passage. Look at Deuteronomy 6:7. Parents are called to teach and talk about God throughout the day. Do you and your parents talk of God’s Word regularly, or live it out in your daily activities?
  • What does Moses say about the Promised Land in verses 10-12? How does that lead on to warnings about forgetting God? This is super important. We all have so many good things that we enjoy. We also have been given the gift of eternal life through Jesus’ death on the cross. And yet, do we forget about God when it suits us, or when we have a difficult decision to make? Why? What was Moses’ specific worry as he taught his listening crowd?
  • In Deuteronomy 6:20-25 we hear a parent tell their son why we follow God’s commands. It’s the right response to a God who has already rescued us. Do you follow God because that’s what all your family and church mates are doing? Or do you follow God because you have a genuine and loving relationship with Him based on His grace and your gratitude?
  • Deuteronomy 11 talks about all the good things that God, our Father, will give to those who honour Him. They’re wonderful words of God’s generosity to us. How many things can you count? The passage describes the Promised Land for the Israelites, and I bet they were excited to come to experience it. We’re not in their position though. What is our Promised Land?
  • I keep on getting drawn back to Deuteronomy 11:18. My prayer for everyone this year is that you are laying up God’s Word on your heart and in your soul.

 

The passage in 2 Timothy is very famous. It reminds us that everything in the bible is from God and is important for us. This includes for teaching, reproof (which means pointing out to people when they are making mistakes), correction (which means to help people change) and for training in righteousness (which means to continually encourage a relationship with Jesus as number one).

 

We as youth leaders will continue to do our part in all of these things, and you should submit to your parents when they do the same. When your parents teach, reproof and correct you, it’s because they love God and they love you. Same for us as leaders.

 

Today’s passages encourage us with the blessings that come with obedience to God and His Word, as well as obedience to the parents who love us! Submit to God, and submit to the teaching you get, and you will be on the right track to living according to God’s commands. Whilst the bible never promises specific earthly blessings for this, it does promise spiritual blessings and an eternity with our Living God.

Readings

  • Deuteronomy 6:1-5
  • Mark 12:28-34
  • John 14:21-24

Prayer

Pray… that you will love God with all your heart, and not just your head!

Day 85 – The #1 Commandment

God is One, love God and keep His commandments

 

  • Today’s passages zoom in on a tiny snapshot of Moses’ teaching. He’s reminding them about the time when they received the Ten Commandments, and which one was the most important. Moses’ wise words about loving God are affirmed several times in Scripture; Jesus talks of it in today’s New Testament passage in Mark, for example. Notice now the passage in Mark directly quotes the passage in Deuteronomy.
  • Notice that God is described as One (as in, there is one God, not three). Jesus’ existence (which has always been!) doesn’t change this. We still believe and trust in one God, showing Himself in three persons of the Trinity. This concept is one of the most mind-bending that you’ll grapple with in the whole bible and we’ll think a bit more about it as we continue to read. If you’ve ever struggled with it, you might enjoy taking solace in the video below and know that you’re not alone!
  • Which is the greatest commandment? Why do you think this is?
  • Do you think the other commandments all relate to the most important one in some way? If we follow the first one, will we automatically follow the others?
  • How does Jesus build on the Old Testament passage without changing it? What more can we learn from it?
  • Why do the commandments need to be “in our hearts” as well as “in our minds”? If they are not in our hearts, what will we always be fighting against?
  • Think about how we can love God in practical ways. What about when we are at home? What about with friends? What about when we’re getting ready for bed or getting up?
  • Look at the passage in John. Jesus explains that unless we love Jesus – being genuinely grateful to him for his sacrifice on the cross and what that means for us – they we won’t want to obey his teaching. Think of a specific area where you know what Jesus’ teaching is but that you are not living in the right way. Is this because you love the sin more than Jesus? Perhaps Jesus just never comes into your mind? If so, sort your head out first. Realise it’s wrong. Secondly, pray that your heart will be changed, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to want to change and to live for Jesus.

 

Think practically about today’s passages. They are not long, and they are very simple and clear. We’re called to love God for everything He has given us, and to love His Son for all He has done for us. How can we change our lives in a real way to reflect this?

 

The video, as I explained above, talks about the concept of the Trinity. I’ve posted it because it’s funny in a geeky Christian way! Don’t worry if you don’t get it – you don’t have to understand all the jokes!

Readings

  • Deuteronomy 1
  • Deuteronomy 2
  • Deuteronomy 4:1-14

Prayer

Pray… that you’ll see the importance of God’s law in your Christian life.

Day 84 – The Story of The Wandering

Reviewing Israel’s history & the Word of God

 

Today we properly start in Deuteronomy. It’s the final book of the Pentateuch and was, as all the others were, likely written by Moses (well, perhaps except for the paragraphs about his death!). Deuteronomy is pretty much one long sermon, combining a history lesson with teaching about God, and was given over a month at the very end of the forty years in the wilderness. It goes back over all the main stages of the time spent in the wilderness, so you may find that lots of today’s verses remind you of stories we have already read.

 

There are lots of verses today, which is another reason why doing these studies each day is better than catching up lots at a time! It’s not a difficult reading though; it’s actually quite helpful and enjoyable to read summaries of stories we have already read about!

 

  • I enjoy looking thinking back on times in my past. Well, the happy moments at least! One thing I like looking at are old photos. Do you have photo albums from when you were a child that you look at from time to time? In the Eureka room, I’m trying to put up lots of photos to remind you all of happy times in the past. Sometimes it’s worthwhile thinking over hard times in the past too. We can see how we handled situations, and have grown or changed since. Over today’s passages we’ll look back at a potted history of the wilderness years with Moses as our storyteller. I almost think of Moses sitting people down to tell them the story, like a grandfather would do with his grandchildren!
  • Deuteronomy literally means “second giving of the law”. Why did Moses need to do a second retelling of the law, reminding the people of the events of the past forty years and the laws God gave them? There are several good reasons. Try and think of at least one reason and incorporate it into your notes.
  • Don’t forget that the people Moses was talking to were not the same people he had rescued out of Egypt. All the original people (except three – bonus points if you can name them!) who came out of Egypt are dead, and it’s their children who are stood before Moses. All the current Israelites were born in the desert. Think for a bit about what that must have been like for them.
  • What does God tell the people it is now time to do?
  • There are lots and lots of place names in today’s readings. You’ll recognise some, and others you don’t need to worry about for now. One that is helpful though is “Horeb”. It’s another name for Mount Sinai.
  • Deuteronomy 1:19 onwards describes the refusal to enter the Promised Land 38 years or so earlier, and the rebellion of the people shortly afterwards. What do you think Moses had on his mind when telling the people the mistakes made by their parents during this time? Think back to the days when we read about the spies coming back with their report of the land.
  • Deuteronomy 2 talks about more recent events as the Israelites passed through land belonging to three other nations. You may remember some of the names from Numbers 20 and 21. As the people heard about how God had guided them safely through these areas, what should they have been reminded of?
  • Deuteronomy 4:1-14 marks a shift in focus. The first three chapters of Deuteronomy were telling stories of the past, but chapter 4 shows Moses giving advice and encouragement for the current situation the people faced as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. What was the main thing Moses called for? You can see a good summary in the first verse. How did he link this in with the Ten Commandments?
  • Moses was a very old man by now, and will soon die. Don’t forget that he will never get to the Promised Land himself. Can you remember the reasons why, from one of our readings over the last week or so?

 

If you have ten minutes – and I’m sure you can find this if you try! – spend a bit of time watching the video below to get an overview of this book as we start it. These introduction videos really are helpful.

 

Readings

  • Numbers 25
  • Psalm 106:24-31
  • Revelation 2:14

Prayer

Pray… that you will honour God with the choices you make.

Day 83 – Phineas & Baal-Peor

Israel’s sin against God & Phineas’ passion for God

 

Today’s passage is pretty blunt. Israel’s sin – both sexual and idolatrous – is flagrant and widespread, and God’s reaction and punishment is strong and perhaps hard to read. Talk to me or another leader if you are troubled by what you read.

 

  • The first verse today throws us into the thick of the action. How were the Israelites sinning? The verb “to whore” means to have repeated unmarried sex.
  • Notice that this activity was with the daughters of Moab – i.e. not Israelites. We read about the Moabites yesterday. God had instructed the Israelites not to marry (and of course to not sleep with) people from other lands. Why do you think this was? You can see one of the reasons in Numbers 25:2-3.
  • What was God’s response in verses 4 and 5?
  • Who was the one person to stand up against this behaviour, particularly when he saw the blatant and unapologetic act of sin in verse 6? What was this person’s connection with Aaron?
  • What did Phineas do? The passage in Psalms may help you to summarise it. Can you imagine what it might have looked like?
  • How did God respond to Phineas’ strong, God-focused action?
  • The New Testament says people will know Christians by their love and their “zeal” for God. That means that we work actively to keep God’s Word at the front of everything we do. How could we act like Phinehas (and I don’t mean by stabbing people in the belly…)?
  • Think about the words of blessing that Balaam said over the people and the sinful actions of the people below. It might remind you of the time when God was giving Moses the Ten Commandments on the mountain whilst the people below were making idols out of gold. Can you think of other times when God was blessing His people even whilst they were turning away in sin?

 

Today’s passage showed God’s judgement against the people who were disobeying His command to not marry other nations. God gave this rule to the people because they were to be holy – set apart for God. The Israelites followed God, and the people in the other nations didn’t. By intermarrying they could have had their hearts dragged away from the true God and possibly towards false ones. We saw this in Numbers 25:2 today.

 

At Eureka we discourage boyfriend/girlfriend relationships with non-Christians. We’ve had talks on it in the past, and it is teaching that extends to the adults too. Harry, Jonah and Anabel – I know you are still young, and this might not be something on your hearts at the moment. Nevertheless, as today’s passage refers clearly to it, I thought I’d discuss the topic a little further.

 

For Christians nowadays, we have similar rules to the Israelites in the Old Testament. We can marry someone from any nation we choose, but Paul, in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, says that we shouldn’t be “yoked” together with someone who doesn’t love Jesus. What does he mean by the word “yoked”? Well, this is a reference to farming. In those times, they used animals to pull ploughs. If you put two donkeys together to pull the same plough, they could work well together. But if you put a donkey and large ox together, it wouldn’t help at all. The two animals are too different, and would continually pull away from one another, and may break the equipment.

 

It’s good to have friends who are not Christians. You shouldn’t hide yourself away in a purely Christian friendship bubble. Potentially the only way your friends will hear about Jesus is through you, so for evangelism to work, you need to have friends to tell the gospel to! We will never dissuade you from having non Christian friendships, as long as they don’t encourage you in activities that are wrong (drinking alcohol before you should, looking at material you shouldn’t, encouraging you to skip church activities, etc).

 

When it comes to relationships, at the level where you would call each other boyfriend/girlfriend or where the connection between you and another person is based on a physical desire for each other, we are called to be much more careful, and Paul’s teachings are very relevant. This becomes even more acute when you get older.

 

Do we discourage these relationships because we’re boring, or because we’re unrealistic about life? Of course not. The fact is that we’re very realistic about the problems these relationships cause. The problem is that of basic disagreements about what is, and isn’t, “acceptable” in a relationship. One person will expect the other to go further physically, perhaps. In these situations the one who’s trying to hold back will be severely tested. Or their attitudes to areas of faith will continually challenge you. Perhaps they will not understand the focus you put on church activities and will encourage you to skip them to do something else.

 

Another consideration is simply that the Bible says not to do it. So if you are hoping that you can convert your partner to have a faith in Christ for themselves, you are doing it in the wrong way. It’s hard to encourage them in their faith when you are ignoring teachings in your own faith to be with them in the first place. Flirt to convert isn’t the wisest plan!

 

You might say that this is too much to expect for a teenage relationship – especially if it’s your first or you’ve just got together. “Give me a break… we’re nowhere near having a serious relationship and we haven’t even kissed yet” is perhaps the argument that’s in your head. Yes, that may be true. But all relationships start there – and they grow. And as they grow, so do the temptations, and so does the pain of stopping it when you suddenly realise that it has become more serious than it should.

 

When you commit your life to Jesus, in baptism, confirmation or some other way, the people in the church agree that they will help you to walk with God at all times. It’s our job, therefore, as youth leaders, to encourage you, and to challenge you, in order to equip you to make wise decisions in this area. We are also well aware that it’s not easy. Talk to me, or Chris, or another leader if you want, if this is something you would like to talk more about.

Readings

  • Numbers 22
  • Numbers 23
  • 2 Peter 2:15-16

Prayer

Pray… that in today’s fun passage we will remember that God can do anything and use anyone for his mission.

Day 82 – Balaam & the Donkey

King Balak’s offer to the prophet Balaam & Balaam’s greed

 

Passages like today’s can really throw some people. They read something like a talking donkey and can’t get past the make-believe world of Shrek. God sending plagues and doing miracles is within their “view” of what God could (or should) do, but enabling a donkey to talk… that’s just fantasy to many people. Today’s passages can reduce the Bible, in their eyes, to fantastical fable. Don’t make this mistake. The God we trust in in the Scriptures made the universe and everything in it. The amusing way in which He works in this story, using a donkey to speak the wisest words, shouldn’t scare you.

 

  • Did you enjoy today’s reading, especially the one in Numbers 22? It’s one of those stories that, if you haven’t heard it before, you’ll wonder why you haven’t. It’s pretty funny in places. Let’s be honest, talking donkeys ain’t what we’re used to seeing, even out in the wilderness!
  • Let’s work through what’s happened, starting with Numbers 22. Firstly, don’t get confused between the two names. Balak is the king of a city called Moab (you may know about this city, as it’s where Ruth comes from). He’s scared of the Israelites because they’re quite close to his city and there’s loads of them. He has seen that the Israelites have recently had victories in other battles, and thinks that his city  might be attacked next. He decides, therefore, to hire the services of Balaam, who is known as a “seer”. A seer is someone who tries to predict the future and bless/curse people, but not in a godly way. Balaam is hired by Balak to curse the Israelites; Balak thinks that this means they would not win any future battle against the Moabites.
  • What kind of relationship did Balaam have with God? Do you think Balaam loved God? Consider that, at the second time of asking, Balaam decided to go to Balak (Numbers 22:21) despite God’s clear earlier instruction not to (verse 12).
  • Balaam clearly wanted to go to do the job as he would have earned a lot of money. What proviso does God give him in Numbers 22:20 as he headed off?
  • God becomes angry with Balaam in Numbers 22:22. Why? Didn’t verse 20 indicate that God said he could go? This takes a little bit of reading between the lines. The passage in 2 Peter will help you, as will your study bible notes.
  • Tell yourself the story of what happened in verses 22-35. It’s really funny. Imagine how annoyed Balaam was at his donkey refusing to do what he wants, and then having his pride completely burst by a donkey, usually considered a classically dumb/slow animal, out-arguing him?
  • What might the bible saying to us by showing a donkey having more insight and knowledge than the mystical Balaam?
  • What what was the whole point of this? What lesson was God teaching Balaam on his journey? Do you think God was trying to make Balaam understand that he was doing what God wanted him to do because He’s God, not for the money he was going to get from Balak?
  • What did Balaam end up doing in chapter 23? Did he bless or curse the Israelite people? What was the enraged response of King Balak?

 

 

I love reading about Balak’s reaction. Imagine the scene. Balak has finally persuaded Balaam to come to him to earn a load of cash by cursing, he hopes, the Israelites. Balaam stands up in Numbers 23:7-10 and proceeds to bless them instead! Look at Balak’s reaction in verse 11 – he’s really annoyed! This then repeats (verses 18-24, and Balak’s reaction in verse 25). If you fancy reading on, it happens again in chapter 24 (I love how Balak can’t do anything about it and just storms off home in Numbers 24:25).

 

It’s a funny story (well, I liked it!). Look at how God can use non-faithful people – people who want for themselves and not God – for his own good. Balaam is far from good, showing greed and poor judgement. Nevertheless, he ends up working for God. See too how God uses the most unlikely source – a donkey! – to give His commands and message. God can do anything. He can use us, and situations, that we would never think of as good or worthy. Take great confidence in that, and ask God how He might use you, even in your sinful moments, to give Him glory in this world.

 

This, by the way, isn’t the last we hear of Balaam in the bible. Numbers 31:16 shows he tried to lead people away from God again, and died (Numbers 31:8) as a consequence.

Readings

  • None… unless you need to catch up!

Prayer

A day off from reading is not a day off from praying or living as a Christian. Pray for something that’s on your heart today.

Day 81 – Day Off

 

 

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend… even if you’re not allowed out of the house!

 

One or two of you are a little behind, I know, but I’ve been super impressed with the way that you all have been working at this reading plan. 81 days in now – comfortably up and running – and we’ve just had two weeks or so of pretty tough Old Testament process and law. Think about how you’ve read through during this time. Have you worked hard at each of the readings, despite their unfamiliarity? If so, really well done. I’m proud of you!

 

We have another reasonably tough week coming up. We start tomorrow with an amusing, but also difficult to understand, story. The rest of the week covers events in the 40 wandering years in the wilderness.

 

By this time next week, however, we’ll be introduced to Joshua and the way that he led the people into the Promised Land, which is a great story.

 

Take pride in your journals, and the notes you write in them. Think of them as a mini piece of artwork you’re putting together. In years to come I’ll hope you’ll use them to look back on this year and teach yourself things time and time again! Keep on prioritising your quiet time with God’s Word.

 

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, especially if you’re doing catchup today.