May 29, 2023

When life seems crazy, do you believe God has a good plan?

Numbers 24:15–25; Numbers 25

Norma Romero
Monday's Devo

May 29, 2023

Monday's Devo

May 29, 2023

Big Idea

God's instruction can always be trusted.

Key Verse | Numbers 24:17

"I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near:
a star shall come out of Jacob,
and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall crush the forehead of Moab
and break down all the sons of Sheth."

Numbers 24:15–25

Balaam's Final Oracle

15 And he took up his discourse and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
16  the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    and knows the knowledge of the Most High,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    falling down with his eyes uncovered:
17  I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near:
a star shall come out of Jacob,
    and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall crush the forehead 1 24:17 Hebrew corners [of the head] of Moab
    and break down all the sons of Sheth.
18  Edom shall be dispossessed;
    Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed.
    Israel is doing valiantly.
19  And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion
    and destroy the survivors of cities!”

20 Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said,

“Amalek was the first among the nations,
    but its end is utter destruction.”

21 And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said,

“Enduring is your dwelling place,
    and your nest is set in the rock.
22  Nevertheless, Kain shall be burned
    when Asshur takes you away captive.”

23 And he took up his discourse and said,

“Alas, who shall live when God does this?
24      But ships shall come from Kittim
and shall afflict Asshur and Eber;
    and he too shall come to utter destruction.”

25 Then Balaam rose and went back to his place. And Balak also went his way.


[1] 24:17 Hebrew corners [of the head]

Numbers 25

Baal Worship at Peor

While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang 1 25:4 Or impale them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”

And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.

The Zeal of Phinehas

10 And the LORD said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13 and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.’”

14 The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, chief of a father's house belonging to the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was the tribal head of a father's house in Midian.

16 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Harass the Midianites and strike them down, 18 for they have harassed you with their wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.”


[1] 25:4 Or impale

Numbers 25:4-9 - "24,000 people died? How should we think about this?"

Listen Now

Dive Deeper | Numbers 24:15–25

Since 2019, when I received a new life in Christ; my behavior, dreams, and interests became new. I now strive to walk with the Lord daily and am constantly reminded of John 15:5.

With this truth, sometimes I feel unworthy, undeserving, not capable of moving forward; and I start doubting some of God's promises. During these times, I cling to Him—just like a wrecked branch to the vine, hit by a strong wind (difficult times) or damaged by a plague (lies I still believe), fighting to stay attached to what brings life when facing danger or menaces.

Balaam, a diviner and false prophet, was used by God to fulfill His plan and to display through an oracle His future plan—that He would bring a King like no other, the Morning Star, our Messiah, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Hope.

If God used this diviner, an ungodly man, wouldn't He use me? His daughter? Do you ever doubt that you can be used by God too? Recognizing that I am a broken but chosen vessel who has God's Holy Spirit gives me the hope and joy I need to move forward. I can rest on the assurance offered by Ephesians 2:10.

I am learning to walk every step by faith, sometimes afraid of failing, some days stumbling, some days running, but every day aware of God's grace. I am currently serving in Watermark's Spanish Equipped Disciple ministry and also in Women's Bible Study, and I'm looking forward to the future and excited about God's promises today.

Do you rejoice in believing that God will fulfill His promises in your life? Are you walking by faith? Are you holding on to hope, our Lord Jesus Christ? For He promised that He would be with us until the end of times! (Matthew 28:20) And He, the one who conquers, lives in you and me! (Galatians 2:20)

This month's memory verse

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

– Philippians 2:3–4

Discussion Questions

1. Are you abiding daily in the Word, allowing it to transform you? If not, what can you do to intentionally seek the Lord daily? See Romans 12:2.

2. Do you believe that you have at least one gift, given to you by God, that you can use to serve the Lord and His people? See 1 Corinthians 7:7.

3. Are you living your life for your own worldly desires? Or are you desiring God's will in your life? See 1 John 2:15-16.

Respond to Today's Passage

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Michael Sisson

Re: Num 24:17 Num 24:17 (NASB) “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; >>>A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel,<<< And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth. Balaam’s oracle is a vision of the distant future. Rabbinic commentators interpret the star and scepter as referring to an earthly king. Rashi and Ibn Ezra say it points to king David. Whereas, Ramban says it’s speaking of the Messiah. However, in the iconography of ancient near East, a star denoted a god (e.g. Acts 7:43) and a scepter alluded to royalty. Clearly, Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus the Christ), G-d the Son, best fulfills both criteria. We see a literal fulfillment of Balaam’s prophecy in the Star of Bethlehem heralding the birth of Yeshua (Jesus). See Am 5:26; Mt 2:2; Mt 2:10-12; Rev 22:16. Re: Num 24:18-19 Num 24:18-19 (NASB) “>>>Edom<<< shall be a possession, >>>Seir<<<, its enemies, also will be a possession, While Israel performs valiantly. “>>>One from Jacobshall have dominion<<<, And will destroy the remnant from the city.” Throughout Scripture, Edom (a.k.a Seir) personifies the enemies of Israel and her Messiah. “Seir and Edom - the two names of Esau's descendants - will fall to his enemy, Israel, and become its possession. Verse 19 concludes this aspect of the prophecy by saying that Israel will dominate Edom and destroy its most prominent city (Rashi). This describes the End of Days, because the current dispersion [of Jews outside Israel] is called the Edomite Exile [i.e. Galut Edom], during which Israel is considered to be under the dominion of Edom. This will end when Edom's power is broken (Ramban).” — Stone Edition Chumash, p873 However, Edom will just not come under Israel’s dominion, so much as >>>under the dominion of “One from Jacob”<<<…Israel’s King Messiah. (Ps 110:1, Mt 22:44, Mk 12:36, Heb 1:13) Re: Num 24:20 Num 24:20 (NASB) And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said, “>>>Amalek was the first of the nations,<<< But his end shall be *destruction.” Also descended from Esau, the Amalekites were the first nation to attack Israel and are considered the embodiment of evil. Re: Num 24:21-22 Though neighbors of the Amalekites, under Jethro’s leadership (Moses’ father-in-law) the Kenites (a clan within Midian) had aligned themselves with the G-d of Israel, and Balaam’s oracle lauds them for it. While they’d eventually go into exile under the Assyrians, the Kenites’ exile would be temporary. Unlike their Amalekite neighbors, the Kenites eventually returned from the Assyrian exile. Re: Num 24:24 In referencing Kittim, Balaam’s oracle ends with a prediction of the region being conquered by the Roman Empire and an exile that will eventually end with the coming of Messuah. For an exceptional travelogue of the sites from which Balaam viewed the Israelite’s encampment and a helpful overview of the archaeological evidence for Balaam’s “Star Prophecy” and it’s fulfillment in Matthew 2, I highly recommend this Expedition Bible video:

Hugh Stephenson

Good morning, Norma. Love your point that God really can use anybody. If Balaam was not the “least likely to be used by God” group he must have gotten Honorable Mention. Q1. I am blessed with The Journey each weekday. The encouragement to “Devote Daily” has been a key way God has used to transform my knowledge of Him and reorient my heart. Q2. I believe God is using nearly 4 decades of sin, rebellion, alcoholism, and addiction to give me a story and a witness that proclaims Him and glorifies Him. Q3. Love this question. It describes the essential dichotomy I face. The best that I can say is that the results of part “a” have moved my desires more and more to part “b”.

Hugh Stephenson

The first element here that gets my attention is the totally different feel and rhythm of this oracle. Balaam refers to himself as the man- -whose eye is opened -who hears the words of God -knows the knowledge of the Most High -sees the vision of Almighty And then issues an amazing prophecy. From the notes- “Saul and David partially fulfilled these prophecies. However, Jewish and Christian interpreters have seen them as looking beyond the early monarchy to Messiah, at both His first and second advents.” “The star (24:17) was a common symbol for a king in biblical and non-biblical ancient Near Eastern literature. One wonders if it might have been this specific prophecy that was in the minds of the wise men who came from Balaam's own country to Bethlehem, to look for the promised King of the Jews (Matthew. 2:1-2).” So, Balaam is accurately prophesying the future absolute and total victory over al kingdoms of the King and Kings! It’s amazing that God is speaking to us through this guy. Which shows me that God can use anyone for any reason at any time. The sad end is that apparently Balaam, after issuing this prophecy, ultimately wind up with the Midianites, (Numbers 31:8,16; Deuteronomy 23:4)

Hugh Stephenson

Constable had some helpful closing thoughts- “New Testament writers referred to Balaam three times, and each time it was in connection with apostasy. Second Peter 2:15-16 refers to "the way of Balaam," which is covetousness. Jude 11 speaks of "the error of Balaam," which is thinking that one can sin with impunity. Revelation 2:14 refers to "the teaching of Balaam," which is compromise with the world.“ “Baxter explained these New Testament references a bit differently: "The way of Balaam is the prostitution of a spiritual gift for base gain. The error of Balaam is the secret idea that the will of God may be circumvented under cover of an outward respect for His word. The doctrine of Balaam is the counsel to ruin by seduction the people who cannot be cursed by permission (see Num. xxxi. 16)."

Sue Bohlin

Bless you, Norma! Love how you are using your background and gifts for the kingdom at Watermark! On I found an intriguing observation that the Balaam story happens outside of the view of Israel. (Which raises the question, how did Moses know about it?) Like passages in Job and Daniel that give us a behind-the-scenes peek at spiritual warfare happening in the unseen realm, this pericope provides perspective, even to unbelievers, on how God confirms and even builds out His promises to Abraham. The Holy Spirit pours out really beautiful poetry and prophecy through the ass that is Balaam, just like He enabled Balaam's ass to rebuke him. (And provide comedy!) I loved learning that numerous commentators over many years have wondered if the Magi knew of the prophecy, "a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel," as they were looking for a king (the scepter) by following a star?! Yet another question to ask in heaven . . .

Amy Lowther

1. Yes. 2. Yes. 3. I desire God’s will in my life because it makes getting everything done easier. God helps me know myself and my opportunities.