Numbers 24, Psalms 66-67, Isaiah 14, 1 Peter 2

DateVersionReading Plan
@May 15, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Numbers 24

Numbers 24:10–11 (ESV) 10 And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, ‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the LORD has held you back from honor.”

Having blessed the people now three times, Balak was clearly frustrated at Balaam. His anger went as far as to say that God held back honor from Balaam that comes with being a respectable seer. This was not at all the case since it was God who had told Balaam to bless the people but, driven by rage, Balak was now falsely projecting the will and intention of God. It is important to see in this how compromised the sinful human condition can become when things are not going our way. In our annoyance, we can begin to assume ill intention on the part of others or of God Himself. Our perspective becomes clouded when we are operating out of anger rather than faith in God’s perfect plan. Knowing this of ourselves allows us the opportunity to instead go to the Lord when our hearts are most heated and plead for His calm and guidance.

Psalms 66-67

Psalm 66:16 (ESV) 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

I have heard it said that our personal testimony of coming to saving faith in Christ is one of our best tools for evangelism. The story of God working in the heart of one of His children makes it personal for the listener. It is almost in the sense of an infection—albeit a good one— where the Spirit effects the heart of the listener in such a way that they see themselves in the narrative and how God is working in them. Praise God that He has given us these stories. May we be a people who invite others to hear them and what the Lord has done for our soul.

Isaiah 14

Isaiah 14:24–25 (ESV) 24 The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, 25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and on my mountains trample him underfoot; and his yoke shall depart from them, and his burden from their shoulder.”

God through Isaiah pronounced judgment on Assyria which had control over Babylon at this time. God would break the Assyrian in His land and His yoke would depart from them. Assyria did not fully overtake Jerusalem but turned back with no explanation given in the official annals of the Assyrian king, Sennacherib. It was a work of God that preserved the remnant of Judah, even through the later Babylonian exile, demonstrating that all He plans will come to be and all He purposes shall stand.

1 Peter 2

1 Peter 2:19 (ESV) 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.

Couched in a discourse of submitting to earthly masters, Peter speaks of how it is a gracious thing to be mindful of God as one endures the sorrows of unjust suffering. Peter here continues in the vain of James who exhorted the church to “count it all joy” when meeting trials of various kinds. These trials often come by way of unjust authorities but we are to be mindful of God’s hand at work as we carry on peaceably. By this we become witnesses of the One who suffered for us, bearing our sins in His body on a tree.

Carson on Psalm 66

The psalmist thanks God for testing his covenant people, for refining them under the pressure of some extraordinarily difficult circumstances and for sustaining them through that experience. This is the response of perceptive, godly faith. It is not heard on the lips of those who thank God only when they escape trial or are feeling happy.

The psalmist thanking God for the refinement experienced through pressure dovetails nicely with the words of Peter from above. The psalmist and Peter both acknowledged the need to face these situations with God-ward focus and gratitude for His work of sanctification. The measure of our faith is expressed in how much we look to God and rest on His goodness while being tested by the fires of life.