Numbers 22b-36 daily devotionals by Kevin E. Jesmer 2016

Numbers 22b-36 daily devotionals by Kevin E. Jesmer 2016


Link to Numbers 1-6 devotionals

Link to Numbers 7-12 devotionals

Link to Numbers 13-22a devotionals

Tuesday, January 3



Numbers 22:21-41

“The angel of the Lord asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.’” (32)


First, God was trying to stop him (21-35)


God tried to stop Balaam by sending an angel. The angel intervened in three areas where there was no excuse. Finally, God opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel. Balaam’s path was reckless. He really wanted to go with the Moabites. He didn’t want to change his reckless course. God allowed him to go, but told Balaam to speak only what he would have him speak.


Second, Balaam was blind (36-41)


Balaam should not have come to Balak. He was enticed by the reward for placing a curse on Israel. Hoping that God would oblige him, he sacrificed animals in the company of the officials and went up to the Israelite camp. Balaam was greedy with an impure motive. He did not care about the glory of God, God’s redemptive work nor his influence among the people of God.


Lord, I confess that I choose reckless paths. I thank you for intervening. Help me to follow your path.


One Word: God intervenes when we are reckless

Wednesday, January 4




Numbers 23:1-30

There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob

and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’” (23)


First, God reveals eternal truths (1-12)


Balaam was testing the limits of God’s grace. He built seven altars and inquired of the Lord. God gave him his words containing eternal truths concerning God and his people. People whom God blesses cannot be cursed. God’s people are set apart from the world. It is better to die the death of the righteous than live a life with the wicked. God’s truths are for all people of faith.


Second, God wanted to reveal his glory (13-30)


Balak was so determined. He took him to another place hoping that God would change his mind. They build seven more altars and inquired of God. God does not lie nor change his mind. What he promises he fulfills. God is Israel’s king who leads them. He gives them strength and through them, God is glorified. Without repenting, Balaam got frustrated and he continued on his reckless course. If only he could choose the wisely for God’s glory.


Lord, help me to respond to your eternal truths and change my reckless course.


One Word: See what God has done and is doing!

Thursday, January 5




Numbers 24:1-25

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel….”


First, God blesses his people (1-11)


Balaam turned his face towards Israel. God prophesied again through Balaam. God’s people are like a fruitful valley, like gardens by the river overflowing with blessing. God will make them into a powerful nation. They were made strong by the grace of God. Again Balaam and Balak refused to repent despite seeing God’s love for his people.


Second, God leads his people to victory (12-25)


Balaam told Balak what God would do through his people in the years to come. King David would rule four centuries later. He would extend Israel’s borders to the promised limits. Under his reign many enemies would be defeated. The prophecy also looks forward to the coming Messiah. God filled his people with hope. Nothing could change this hope because God is the sovereign Lord who does this (23b). There is assurance in God’s hope.


Lord, I know that you are the sovereign Lord, who blesses your people and leads them all the way to your kingdom. I trust in your leading in dark times.


One Word: God’s hope for his people is certain

Friday, January 6




Numbers 25:1-18

“He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.” (13)


First, Balaam’s sin was so despicable (1-3)


Balaam was not a changed man. He knew that divination would not work and so devised another plan. He convinced the women of Moab to entice the Israelites into sexual sin and worship Baal. He knew that this would make God angry and God’s hand world be forced to curse his own people (31:16).


Second, some people acted with zeal for the Lord’s honor (4-18)


The Lord moved Moses to act. Satan was really working to destroy God’s people. They could have melded into the pagan culture. Phineas’ response was pleasing to God for the plague stopped. Radical acts of faith are needed at crucial moments. We are called to honor God, love others and obey God with zeal. In these times, our zeal does not atone, but it is pleasing to the Lord.


Lord, grant me the will act with radical faith for your honor at the crucial moment.


One Word: Be zealous for the Lord’s honor

Saturday, January 7




Numbers 26:1-65

“Take a census of the whole Israelite community by families—all those twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army of Israel.” (2)


First, their passage through the desert was a miracle from God (1-51)


This census counted the available males that could fight. They were not born in Egypt nor were they part of Korah’s rebellion. They were a new generation. God was fulfilling his plan. The peoples’ entry into the Promised Land was a miracle. There were so many forces against them. But God led them over four decades, keeping their identity and their vision intact. They could not do it on their own.


Second, God was fair and just (52-65)


God granted the people an inheritance based on the size of their tribe, not according to military power. God also was considerate of the Levites. But those who sinned were judged for their sins, and were restricted from entering the Promised Land. Our God is fair and just. We can have a peace in our hearts as we live under his reign.


Lord, thank you for guiding our lives and bringing us into the Kingdom of God. We could never get to this point without you.


One Word: God will guide us on our journey

Sunday, January 8




Numbers 27:1-11

“What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them.” (7)


First, The bold faith of the five sisters (1-4)


When God gave the criteria for the allotment, there were some questions. Zelophedad had no sons. His daughters would not have any inheritance because only men were counted. These women presented their case. They wanted land among their father’s relatives. They were bold. They acted quickly. They cared about their father and their tribe. They had faith in a God who is concerned.


Second, God cares about the vulnerable (5-11)


The women were correct about the nature of God. He cared. Moses brought the issue to God. The Lord acknowledged that the women were right in making the request. God proclaimed a new law that would protect the sisters’ rights and the rights of future women in their same situation. Ensuring women’s’ rights was revolutionary at that time. God concerns about his people and he acts in just ways.


Lord, thank you for your compassion for the vulnerable. Help me see the need, pray and act.


One Word: Our Lord is the one who truly cares

Monday, January 9




Numbers 27:12-23

“May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (16-17)


First, trust God and pray for his work (12-17)


God was not going to back down on his judgment against Moses. Moses may have done a million good things, but not honoring God as holy before the people was enough to keep him out of the Promised Land. Moses accepted God’s pronouncement and concerned himself with the advancement of God’s plan, specifically that a leader be raised up to lead the people.


Second, God establishes leaders (18-23)


God told Moses to appoint Joshua as the next leader. The people needed to have confidence in Joshua’s leadership. Thus there was a commissioning ceremony led by Eleazar the High Priest. The people would rally around Joshua and Eleazar. God establishes his leaders.


Lord, you are God. I want to be content with how you lead my life. Raise up leaders for your mission.


One Word: Pray that God may raise up successors

Tuesday, January 10




Numbers 28:1-31

“Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Make sure that you present to me at the appointed time my food offerings, as an aroma pleasing to me.’” (2)


First, keeping the point of their journey (1-15)


The Israelites had been very busy traveling, fighting, struggling with temptations and legal issues. How easy it was to get distracted and forget about the primary goal of their journey, that is, to know and worship the Lord. God wanted his people to come to him daily and on every Sabbath. It involved the whole community. The people offered their best. Their worship went beyond the routine.


Second, commemorate God’s grace (16-31)


God called his people to celebrate the Passover and the Festival of Weeks. The Passover is a celebration of God’s deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt. The Festival of Weeks was a festival expressing thanksgiving for God’s provision. The point of it all is that God’s people must remain focused on the main point of their lives of faith, the worship of the Lord who delivered them.


Lord, I forget the point of it all, that is, to worship you. Help me to always seek you first and foremost.


One Word: Keep the main point; worship the Lord

Wednesday, January 11




Numbers 29:1-40

“Present as an aroma pleasing to the Lord a burnt offering of one young bull, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect.” (8)


First, ask for the Lord’s forgiveness (1-11)


The Feast of Trumpets is heralded by trumpets declaring Israel a covenant people. Eight days later was the Day of Atonement or Rash Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is a sacred assembly where the people were to do no work. On that day the High Priest entered the most holy place and offered blood for his sin and the sin of the people. The whole nation was called to fast. It was a solemn time of reflection and a time for God’s forgiveness.


Second, the Feast of Tabernacles (12-40)


This feast commemorated God’s grace during their wandering for forty years in the desert. It was at the fall harvest and was a time of thanksgiving.  God had poured out his grace on his people and he wanted them to be strong in that grace. All of these feasts seemed like a lot, but God wants his people to make time to come together and worship him.


Lord, you are worthy. Worshipping you because of the grace of forgiveness and provision is our joy.


One Word: Worship the Lord who delivers, forgives and sustains

Thursday, January 12




Numbers 30:1-16

“When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” (2)


First, called to keep our vows (1-2)


Another important quality of any society is people keeping their vows. Keeping one’s vows reflects a characteristic of God. God is faithful. He keeps his word. He has kept his promises to his people in bringing them to the Promised Land. He wants his people to glorify him. If we make vows before God then we should determine to keep them, even if it is costly. This glorifies the Lord and makes for a just society. But keeping our vows is not easy. Most of the time we fail. This is a good time to come to God.


Second, vows affect people around us (3-16)


In Moses’ time, women were under the protection of their father or husband. The women could make vows, but they could be nullified by her father or her husband. If they lingered, the woman’s vow stood. We do not live in a vacuum. Our vows affect others. Our vows should be made in communication with and in agreement with others whom they affect.


Lord, thank you for your high standard in calling us to keep vows. Help us to glorify you with integrity.


One Word: Glorify God who keeps his promises

Friday, January 13




Numbers 31:1-54

“Anyone who has killed someone or touched someone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh days you must purify yourselves and your captives.” (19)


First, God dealt with the Midianites (1-24)


The Midianites followed Balaam’s advice. The Lord’s anger was aroused and 24,000 people perished. They discovered a very potent weapon against God’s people for it was so tempting. It was also manipulating God himself. There was no fear of the Lord in them. God had to do deal with them very harshly. Nearly all of them were killed. God took no pleasure in it. The men who killed others went through a week long purification rite. God’s people need a very serious attitude towards sin.


Second, dividing the spoils of war (25-53)


Moses told the fighters to give a portion of the spoils to God, to the people who remained behind, and to the Levites who took care of the Tabernacle. The army’s victory was not possible without the support of the people back home. They needed to remember that and divide the spoils accordingly.


Lord, help me to deal with sin in my life quickly and decisively.


One Word: Root out sin from our hearts

Saturday, January 14




Numbers 32:1-42

“Our children and wives, our flocks and herds will remain here in the cities of Gilead. But your servants, every man who is armed for battle, will cross over to fight before the Lord, just as our lord says.” (26-27)


First, two tribes make a bold request (1-32)


The land east of the Jordan was good for grazing. Two tribes requested it as their inheritance. Moses saw their request as a discouragement, at first. He warned them of rebellion. But the two tribes explained their motive and it was not rebellion. They pledged to fight alongside their brethren. They never intended to avoid the battle or discourage others. Moses made a concession to the tribes.


Second, God accepted their request. (33-42)


God worked through their request. He built up the region with pastures and fortified cities. The land was rid of idol worship and hostile nations. They created a buffer zone next to the Promised Land. Everything work out well. All the people were encouraged. God has a plan, but there is room for requests within the ever advancing work of God.


Lord, thank you for considering our requests. Help us to request things that encourage others.


One Word: Find a way to encourage people of faith

Sunday, January 15




Numbers 33:1-49

“At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages:” (2)


First, we can be bold in the love of God (1-4)


God wanted Moses to record the stages in the journey. God heard the cries of his people. He delivered them from slavery. The Israelites marched out defiantly in full view of the Egyptians, confident in the love of God, and knowing they were being led by God. Moses documented these events. God’s grace is continually being poured out on us. Reflecting on the stages in our spiritual journey is a way to be strong in the grace of God.


Second, God upheld his people (5-49)


They were led through a harsh desert and passed through the Red Sea. God provided springs in unlikely spots. There were times of testing. God provided dedicated leaders. God went on before them, planting fear in their enemies so they could even camp in full view of them. They made progress as they placed their faith in the Lord. Such is the character of our life with God.


Lord, thank you for inviting me on this journey with you, a journey filled with grace upon grace.


One Word: No other journey can even compare

Monday, January 16




Numbers 33:50 -34:29

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance is to have these boundaries:’” (34:1-2)


First, God calls is people to battle (33:50-56)


The Israelites were camped on the plains of Moab. They were poised to cross the Jordan. God told them to drive out the inhabitants, remove all vestiges of their pagan religion, and then distribute land to the tribes. God also warned them of the consequences of disobedience. God was judging the Moabites and, at the same time, establishing his people as kingdom of priests and a holy nation.


Second, God prepares his people (34:1-29)


God was really thoughtful to lay a solid foundation before his people made their ascent into the Promised Land. The preparation was more than just training for battle and assigning jobs for the people to do. God also fortified their hearts. They were to abhor idols, know the promises of God, have a sense of justice, possess generosity, have a sense of victory, and prepare leaders.


Lord, you prepare your people to advance in your mission. We trust in your meticulous care.


One Word: God’s care is deep and thoughtful

Tuesday, January 17




Numbers 35:1-34

“Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee. In addition, give them forty-two other towns.” (6)


First, God promoted and preserved worship (1-8)


The Levites were not granted an inheritance of their own. They served the Lord and God took care of the Levites, providing cities where they could live and serve. He provided a glorious mission, to be administrators of the cities of refuge, serving as impartial judges. Every society needs to protect, nurture and promote true worship among the people and make a place for servants of God.


Second, the mercy and justice of God (9-34)


Six of the towns, occupied by the Levites, were to serve a cities of refuge. If a person accidently killed someone, they could flee to one of these cities and be protected as the Levities investigated what happened. In an age where there was little justice and mercy, God permeated his society with justice and mercy. Cities of refuge and the Levites went together. Worship must involve justice and mercy.


Lord, you care about the spiritual lives of your people. Help us to share in your heart.


One Word: Worship, mercy and justice go together

Wednesday, January 18




Numbers 36:1-13

“So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses.” (10)


First, caring about relationships (1-9)


These five sisters had previously been granted permission to receive a portion of land since they had no brothers at the time of their father’s death. But then some leaders were concerned that the girls might marry men from outside the tribe. Then their land would permanently belong to another tribe. God solved the problem. No part of the land would transfer. They would have to forfeit their inheritance or curtail their own desires.


Second, they chose to follow God’s will (10-13)


In a world where it seems natural to follow one’s own desires all of the time, these five sisters chose to obey the Lord. They cared more about relationships within their family and their tribe’s inheritance and chose to marry within the tribe. They were a blessing to the community. There are times when we are called to surrender our own personal desires for the good of others and the glory of God. We and others will be blessed.


Lord, my heart is full of my own personal desires. Help me to submit my will to you, for your glory.


One Word: For God’ glory and the good of others

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