Today’s Tasting: Numbers 23-25: Balak, the son of the king of Moab, had called Balaam, a Midianite, to curse the Israelites. They went to Baal and built seven altars there to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. Then Balaam spoke what he heard the Lord say: “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?” (Numbers 23:8). Again Balak built seven altars for sacrifice and told Balaam to curse the Israelites. Instead, Balaam spoke the words he heard from the God of Israel, that He had blessed and no man could reverse the blessing, neither would any witchcraft or divination stand against Israel. Then Balak took Balaam to a third place and asked him to curse the Israelites from there. Again God spoke through Balaam: “I will bless those who bless Israel, those who curse you, I’ll curse!” (24:9). Then Balak became very angry with Balaam, because he had called Balaam to curse his enemies but instead he had blessed them three times. So Balaam reminded Balak that he had said he would speak only what he heard from God: “What the Lord speaks, that will I speak” (Numbers 24:13 ESV). So the two men went their separate ways.
While Israel camped on the plains of Moab, the men began to sleep with the young women of Moab. Soon the Israelites began sacrificing and bowing down to the gods of Moab.
“Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel” (Numbers 25:3 ESV).
When one of the Israelites brought a Midianite woman home to his family, Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, became enraged and killed them both. Thus the plague that had come upon the Israelites was stopped, though twenty-four thousand died before the plague ceased. God was pleased with Phinehas and gave him and his descendants a covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for God and made atonement for the people of Israel (24:13).
Today’s Nourishment: Although we don’t build altars and make sacrifices to gods today, we create gods in our lives when we place a higher value on our possessions or our relationships than we do on our relationship with God. When we worship other gods, the result is death and destruction. But when we worship God in spirit and in truth, it produces life and the fruit of the Spirit in us (see Galatians 5:22-23).
Worship isn’t about beautiful buildings or a specific day of the week. You may worship God today, right where you are and right where you sit or stand.
“For the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24 ESV).
Since I learned that “worship,” in this passage, comes from the Greek words pros, meaning “to go toward” and kuneo, meaning “to kiss,” I realized that worship is the same as living in intimate relationship with the Lord. Learning this also changed my perspective on how and how often I worship the Lord. Understanding that to worship is “to go toward to kiss” increased my desire to love the Lord and receive His love for me.
Jesus says that if we love the world the love of the Father is not in us (see 1 John 2:15). Let us turn from worshiping the gods of this world and worship the Lord—“go toward Jesus to kiss Him.” Share with us how you choose to worship the Lord today.
Tomorrow’s Delight: Numbers 26-27
Carolyn Marlowe, CCLC