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Dad holding child ice-skater March 8 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Numbers 22, 23, 24

God Protects His Own

A mother and father protect their children. Employers exhibit loyalty to their employees. The military have a code: no soldier left behind. Pastors speak well of their people and love them like family. In today's reading God protects his people from curses. How does God protect us?

In Numbers 21 God gave victory to Israel over the Amorites and over King Og of Bashan and his army. This caused great fear with Balak, king of the Moabites. The large horde of Israelites, who had just received great military victories, were right on his border. He feared they were too large for his armies to defeat. Balak then tried to hire Balaam, a man who had a reputation for demonic divination. Whomever Balaam cursed was cursed and whomever he blessed was blessed. Balak sent princes to Balaam with a divination fee to pay him to curse Israel.

Israel, however, was (and still is) beloved of God and under his protection. Baalam asked the LORD what he should do - should he go with them or not? God said no, Israel was blessed by him. The princes were sent back to Balak. Frustrated, the king sent more distinguished royalty to him with promises of great riches. Balaam was very tempted and wanted to go. Balaam asked the LORD once more. Seeing Balaam was determined, he gave his consent, only warning him that whatever God said he must speak. Yet God was angry that he went. As a parent who has already said no to his child and is asked again, God gave reluctant permission but qualified it.

Balaam knew God did not really want him to go. When he went anyway, thinking he had technically received permission, he was frustrated by his vehicle of transportation, his donkey. Unseen by Balaam but seen by his donkey, the Angel of the LORD with a drawn sword in his hand stood in front of their path wherever they went. The donkey knew more than Balaam and tried to avoid him, first turning aside into a field, then crushing Balaam's ankle against a wall, and then finally laying down. Balaam was angry. Balaam beat his donkey three times and then, miraculously, the donkey spoke to him, asking him why his master was beating him. Then God opened Balaam's eyes to see the threatening scene of the Angel of the LORD standing in their path. The donkey was just trying to protect his master. Nevertheless, the angel let him go on his way but told Balaam again that he could only speak what God wanted him to speak. Do we speak only what God wants us to speak or do we speak only with our own wisdom and in a way that profits us? We need to please God with our tongues (James 3:2-10).

When Balak called upon Balaam to curse Israel, Balaam did not curse her- he blessed her! He sought God's will three times, but because God is sovereign and loves Israel, only harm could come to her if he allowed it. God was Israel's defense. Balaam could only say what God wanted him to say. Therefore, to Balak's consternation, Balaam blessed Israel three times. Psalm 18:30 says, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him," (NIV). God kept his promise to Israel. In Genesis 12:3, God promised Abram, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you,” (NIV).

Does God defend us like Israel? In Romans 8:31-39 the Apostle Paul wrote to his Jewish and Gentile (non Jewish) Christian readers,

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

Only calamities or other trouble that God allows can come upon us. God loves us and defends us; we are his children if we have a personal relationship with him (more...).

Lessons to live by:

  • If you know God's answer, you do not have to ask again; his will is the same.
  • Do we speak only what God wants us to speak or do we speak only with our own wisdom and in a way that profits us? We need to please God with our tongues.
  • God loves us and God defends us; we are his children if we have a personal relationship with him (more...). Only calamities or other trouble that God allows can come upon us.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him” (NIV).

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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