Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Feb 24, Num 31-32

Today's readings are Num 31-32.

God judges Midian for corrupting His people by drawing them into worship of idols at Peor. Balaam, showing his true colors, is executed along with the leaders of Midian (Num 31:7-8). But Israel’s army tries to spare and keep the Midianite women. But as it turns out, the women were the problem. When it became apparent that the Midianites and Balak were unable to defeat Israel on the battlefield, Balaam advised the women to lure Israel's army away from God (Num 31:15-16). More executions and deaths follow (Num 31:17-20). It’s a brutal scene. But we learn that God will not only purge sin from His people, but He will also judge those who cause His people to stumble!

Some of the tribes (Reuben, Gad, and ½ of Manasseh) want to remain in the Transjordan area instead of going into the Promised Land (Num 32). There are similarities between them and their forefathers who were fated to die in the wilderness for not obeying God! The land they want to live in, as we will see in the next chapters, is outside of the area God has promised to His people. Moses gets them to agree to fight the battle for the Promised Land then return to where they want to make their home. In the long run, the decision to stay on the east side of the Jordan will prove to be a bad one. It is similar to the one Elimelech will make in years to come when he moves Naomi and his family from the Promised Land (Ruth 1:1) to the same region these two and a half tribes want to occupy now. By Elimelech’s time, the time of the Judges, the area will have once again become hostile to Israel.

Ultimately, what the tribes in Num 32 are deciding is that the place they have chosen is better than the place God has promised them. How many times do we neglect to pursue God's promises, settling something we believe to be better? How many times do we choose what may be better over what is best?

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