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Friday, March 8 2019
A Bible Journey, 139: King Balak and The Diviner Balaam
"The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak"
The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ; see The Real Jesus: The Word Of The LORD God and A Bible Journey, 56: The Sacred Name) gave the Israelites of the Exodus their opportunity to enter the Promised Land only about 14 months after they left Egypt (see A Bible Journey, 63: The Exodus Lesson).
If the children of Israel (see A Bible Journey, 46: The Family At The Heart Of A Nation) had obeyed the LORD, they would have entered their homeland from the south, through the Negev Desert ("Negev" means south in Hebrew see also The Negev Of Israel). If they had obeyed, there would have been no crossing of the Jordan River, or a Book of Deuteronomy in the Bible (see Deuteronomy: The Law and History Lessons By Moses).
When the Israelites refused to enter (see A Bible Journey, 133: The Spirit Of Rebellion), the LORD turned them around and marched them around in circles for forty years, until the adult generation, who refused their opportunity to go home, had all died off (see Numbers 14: Why 40 Years In The Sinai?). It was their children and grandchildren, most of whom were born in the Sinai (see Hometowns: Campsites Of The Sinai) who entered the Promised Land forty years later - not then through the southern desert, but after an around the Dead Sea march that brought them to the Jordan River. It was that route that took them through Moab, a territory in what is today the southern part of the Kingdom of Jordan.
"22:1 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.
King Balak of Moab actually had nothing to fear from the Israelites. They were merely intending to peacefully and respectfully pass through on their way to their own homeland. Rather than simply letting them pass, Balak attempted to stop them by hiring a "diviner" named Balaam. The LORD spoke to Balaam before the messengers of Balak arrived however, so when they made their offer, Balaam's response was "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more."
"22:7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.
Balaam decided to go to Moab as the request of Balak anyway. For that, "God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him." Then followed the famous incident with Balaam's long-suffering donkey (see the Fact Finder question below).
"22:21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22:22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 22:23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
When Balaam arrived, Balak chided him for not coming sooner, but Balaam replied "Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak."
"22:36 And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. 22:37 And Balak said unto Balaam, Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour?
Fact Finder: Is the incident with Balaam and his donkey explained further in the New Testament?
This Day In History, March 8
1126: Alfonso VII was proclaimed king of Castile and Leon in what is today central Spain.
1702: King William III of England was killed in a riding accident at age 52. Queen Ann became the English monarch.
1736: Nader Shah, founder of the Afsharid dynasty, was crowned Shah of Persia (Persia became known as Iran in the 1920s; see also How Hadassah Of Benjamin Became The Queen Of Persia and The Prophecies Of Cyrus of Persia).
1765: One-quarter of Montreal, Quebec was destroyed by fire.
1782: The Gnadenhutten massacre. 96 Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity, were murdered by Pennsylvania militiamen in supposed retaliation for raids carried out by other "Indians" (see also The First Chinese American War).
1801: During the Napoleonic Wars (see also Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?), the British forces under Ralph Abercromby captured Aboukir Bay from the French. Abercromby was killed in the battle (Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the War of 1812-14 against the U.S.; the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in fighting Napoleon's French Empire in Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo).
1917: Riots and strikes in St. Petersburg marked the beginning of the communist revolution against Czar Nicholas II in Russia (see also When Do Liberals Become Conservatives? and Why Are Politicians Called Left Or Right?).
1921: Spanish Prime Minister Eduardo Dato was assassinated in Madrid.
1921: Following Germany's failure to pay reparations from the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), French troops occupied Duesseldorf and other towns in the Ruhr.
1942: During the Second World War (1939-1945; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), Japanese forces entered Rangoon, Burma, the day after British forces evacuated (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).
1965: 4,000 U.S. marines (marine troops have been known for over 2,000 years, in ancient China and Greece; today, about 60 countries have marines; see Send In The Marines) arrived at Da Nang in South Vietnam to become the first U.S. combat troops to become involved in the Vietnam civil war. Earlier French imperialism in southeast Asia resulted in the ancient nation of Vietnam being divided into North and South Vietnam, a foreign-imposed partition of the Vietnamese people that did not end until the early 1970s after the U.S. had involved itself in the Vietnamese civil conflict for over a decade.
1983: U.S. President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an "evil empire." The Soviets responded by calling the U.S. an "evil empire."
2004: A new constitution of Iraq was signed by the U.S.-installed "Governing Council." The puppet regime was however unable to stop the insurgency that demanded genuine independence for Iraq.
2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.