Old Testament: Numbers 21: 1 – 22: 20
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Numbers 21: 1 – 5 The First Arad Raid
The King of Arad attacked Israel. The people of Israel made a promise to the Lord that if He gave them victory, they would destroy Arad’s cities. He did and they did. The place was called Hormah.
They then set out to go around Edom. Guess what? The people started griping again because they were in the wilderness where they could die because the food was bad and they didn’t have any water. I had a day like that just today. Too bad they didn’t have “Rejoice always, again I say rejoice” (Phil. 4:4) or even “the joy of the Lord is my strength” (Neh. 8:10).
Numbers 21: 6 – 20 A Snake On A Stick
The Lord sent some really mean snakes amongst the people. Some of snakes bit them and they died. The people realized their sin of speaking against Yahweh and Moses. They asked Moses to intercede for them [again!!]. Yahweh told Moses to make a serpent out of bronze, probably a similar color to the actual snakes (the word for serpent and bronze in Hebrew are similar), and put it up on a pole. Everyone who looked at the snake on the pole would be healed. Don’t tell the state fair people . . . “snake on a stick”?
The snake on a pole later became an object of worship during King Hezekiah’s reign so he had to destroy it. Paul used it as a warning (1Cor. 10: 9). Jesus used it as an illustration of salvation (John 3:14). Notice that anyone smitten by a snake only had to look upon the serpent on a pole. He or she did not have to go out and do any good works to prove it to be healed. So today, don’t believe anyone who tells you that you have to clean up your life or do anything before you trust Christ. Now afterwards, that’s a different story . . .
Numbers 21: 21 – 35 No Wizard in Og, No Jabberwockys
The Israelites asked Sihon, the king of the Amorites, if he’d let them pass through his land. Sihon said, “No.” They passed through anyway. A battle ensued. The Israelites won. They gained control of Sihon’s land including the Brook of Jabbok, home of the Jabberwockys. Wait, no, sorry Lewis Carrol. It was where Jacob fought the “man,” better known as “The Man” (Gen. 32: 22). The “Angel of the Lord”? Jesus?
Num. 21: 27-32 is a proverb that basically says “my Dad is bigger than your Dad.” You Amorites beat the Moabites but WE beat you! HA (cf. Nu. 20: 26, 27)!
The Israelites continued their tour of the middle east, going near Bashan. Og was the king there. He was a big boy. He slept in an iron bed that was thirteen and half feet long by six feet high (cf. Dt. 3: 11 NIV). His nickname was “The Wizard.” No, it wasn’t. Yahweh told Moses not to dread him because Yahweh was going to give him over to Moses. Subsequently, they killed Og and all the Ogites. There were none left and moved into his land.
Numbers 22: 1 – 20 Zip It Up
Then Israel camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan River across from Jericho.
Balak, the son of Zipper, I mean Zippor, saw how the Israelites were cleaning up Palestine. He figured he’d be the next victim. He figured he might need some extra mojo and thought he’d try some witchcraft, wicked witchcraft.
We first hear about the famous, or infamous, Balaam in Nu. 22: 5. We don’t know all we’d like to know about him. We don’t know if he was a believer, what kind of prophet he was, or how Balak had heard of him. Balak asked Balaam to put a spell on the Israelites. Balaam apparently had a reputation as a successful, if not always ethical prophet. Balak tried to buy him (Nu. 22: 7). Balaam told Balak’s messengers that he’d have to sleep on it and check with the Lord. Elohim told him it wasn’t going to work out to curse the Israelites because He was going to bless them. So Balaam sent the messengers back home.
Balak was not one to take “no” for an answer and sent even more of his messengers that were even more highfalutin’ back with an offer of even more money. Balaam told him that he couldn’t help them but if they wanted to spend the night, he’d check again with Yahweh Elohim. God told him he could go back with the messengers but he should only do what God told him. Why did Balaam ask God again? It must have galled him that he had to give up such a lucrative offer and the prestige that went with it.
New Testament: Luke 1: 26 -56
Luke 1: 26 -38 The Big Event
Gabriel had appeared to Zechariah. Six months later he was about ready to inform Mary of the ” big event.” Mary was a virgin so she was just a little surprised but not unbelieving like Zechariah. She didn’t have the normal problem parents have in naming her baby. Gabe did it for her: Jesus. Mary wanted to know the method and the angel told her that the Holy Spirit perform a miracle in her. He told her even her formerly barren cousin, Elizabeth, was six months along. The angel said, “nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk. 1: 37). Mary said she was the Lord’s “bond servant” (v. 38 NASB) and God should feel free to do whatever He wanted. The angel absconded. Mary did, too, to go see her cousin.
Luke 1: 39 – 45 Mary Drops In On Liz
When Mary came in and said, “hello,” the baby jumped in Liz’s womb. Liz was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Lk. 1: 42). Liz said she was blessed to just have Mary around, the mother of her Lord. And Mary was blessed for her faith (Lk. 1: 45).
Luke 1: 46 – 56 Mary Sings A Magnificat Tune
Mary was so filled with joy, she sang a song. The song is often called The Magnificat since the first word of the passage in the Latin Vulgate translation is “magnifies.”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back home to Nazareth.