Day 54 – February 23, 2022

Numbers 23, 24; Psalm 48:11–21; Proverbs 10:7–11; Mark 4:1–20

Numbers 23, 24

1 Now Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me here seven young bulls and seven rams.” 2 So Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and he offered a young bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand alongside your sacrifice, and I will go; perhaps God will reveal Himself to me in a meeting, and I will tell you whatever word He shows me.” So Balak stood alongside his sacrifice, and Balaam went on a direct road to inquire of God. 4 Thus God revealed Himself to Balaam, and Balaam said to Him, “I prepared seven altars, and offered on each altar a young bull and a ram.” 5 Then God put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 6 So he returned to him, and there he was, standing alongside his burnt offerings, he and all the rulers of Moab with him. 7 Then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his parable and said:

“Balak the king of Moab summoned me from Mesopotamia,

From the mountains of the east, saying,

Come, curse Jacob for me, and come,

Call down a curse upon Israel.

8 How shall I curse whom the Lord did not curse?

Or how shall I call down a curse upon whom God did not curse?

9 For from the top of the mountains I see him,

And from the hills I envision him.

Behold, the people shall dwell alone,

And they shall not be reckoned among the nations.

10 Who can examine accurately the seed of Jacob,

And number the tribes of Israel?

May my soul die with the souls of the righteous,

And may my seed be as their seed.”

11 But Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I summoned you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully.” 12 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Should I not be careful to speak whatever God may put into my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Prophecy

13 So Balak said to him, “Yet come with me to another place, from which vantage points you may not see him. You will see only a part, but not all, of him; then curse him for me from there.” 14 Then he took him along to a lookout point over the land, upon the summit of a hewn rock, and built seven altars there; and he offered a young bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam then said to Balak, “Stand alongside your sacrifice, while I go and enquire of God.” 16 Then God met Balaam and put a word in his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 17 So he returned to him, and there he was, standing alongside his whole burnt offering, and all the rulers of Moab were with him. Balak then said to him, “What did the Lord say?” 18 Then he took up his parable and said:

“Rise up, Balak, and hear.

Give ear as a witness, son of Zippor.

19 God is not like a man, to be deceived,

Nor like a son of man, to be threatened.

Would He, having spoken, not act?

Or shall He speak, and not stand by it?

20 Behold, I receive to bless,

  And I shall bless, and not reverse it.

21 There shall be no trouble in Jacob,

Nor shall distress be seen in Israel,

For the Lord his God is with him,

And the glorious acts of rulers are in him.

22 God brings them out of Egypt,

Like the glory of the unicorn for him.

23 For there is no portent in Jacob,

Nor any divination in Israel.

In due time it will be told to Jacob

And Israel what God will accomplish.

24 Behold, a people like a lion’s cub will rise up

And will exult like a lion.

It shall not lie down until it eats the prey

And drinks the blood of the slain.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse him with curses for me, nor actually bless him.” 26 So Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘The word God may speak, that I shall do’?”

Balaam’s Third Prophecy

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, I will take you along to another place, if it will please God to curse him for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam along to the top of Peor, which extends into the desert. 29 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me here seven young bulls and seven rams.” 30 So Balak did as Balaam told him, and he offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

1 Now when Balaam saw it was good before the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as he was accustomed to do, to seek and find omens; but he turned and set his face toward the desert. 2 Then Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. 3 Then he took up his parable and said:

“Balaam the son of Beor declares;

The man who truly sees declares;

4 The one who hears the sayings of God declares;

The one who saw the vision of God in a dream,

A revelation seen by him:

5 How beautiful are your dwellings, O Jacob,

Your tents, O Israel.

6 Like wooded valleys offering shade,

And like gardens by the rivers,

Like tents the Lord pitched,

Like cedars beside the waters.

7 A Man shall come forth from his seed,

And He shall rule many nations;

And His kingdom shall be more exalted than Gog,

And His kingdom shall increase.

8 God led Him out of Egypt,

And He has the glorious appearance of a unicorn.

He shall consume the nations of his enemies

And deprive them of their strength.

He shall shoot the enemy with His missiles.

9 He lies down and rests like a lion,

And like a lion’s cub, who shall rouse Him?

Those who bless You are blessed,

And those who curse You are cursed.”

10 Then Balak was angry with Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemy, and look, you actually blessed him for a third time. 11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would honor you, but in fact, the Lord deprived you of glory.” 12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also tell your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the Lord’s word, to do good or evil of my own will. Whatever the Lord may say, this I shall speak’? 14 So now, indeed, I am going to my place. Come, I will counsel you as to what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”

Balaam’s Fourth Prophecy

15 So he took up his parable and said:

“Balaam the son of Beor declares;

The man who truly sees declares;

16 The one who hears the sayings of God declares;

And the one who knows the knowledge of the Most High,

And who saw the vision of God in a dream, a revelation seen by him:

  17 I will show Him, but not now;

I bless Him, but He is not near.

A Star shall rise out of Jacob;

And a Man shall rise out of Israel.

He shall break in pieces the rulers of Moab

And plunder all the sons of Seth.

18 Edom shall be His inheritance,

And also His enemy shall be His inheritance;

But Israel acts with strength.

19 He shall rise up out of Jacob,

And destroy the survivors of the city.”

20 Then seeing Amalek, he took up his parable and said:

“Amalek was first of the nations,

But their seed shall perish.”

21 Then seeing the Kenites, he took up his parable and said:

“Your dwelling is strong;

And if you should put your nest in a rock,

22 And become dwellings of craftiness for Beor,

Nevertheless the Assyrians shall take you captive.”

23 Then seeing Og, he took up his parable and said:

“Oh! Oh! Who shall live whenever God may bring these things to pass?

24 Now these things shall come to pass from the hand of the Kittians,

And they shall also maltreat Asshur and the Hebrews,

But they themselves with one accord shall perish.”

25 So Balaam rose and departed and returned to his place; Balak also went to his own place.

Psalm 48:11–21

11 Foolish and senseless men die together,

And they leave their wealth to strangers;

12 And their graves will be their homes continually,

Their dwelling places from generation to generation.

They called their lands after their own names.

13 A man being in honor did not understand;

He was compared to the senseless cattle, and became like them.

14 Their road is a snare for them,

Yet afterwards, men will be well pleased with their sayings.

15 Like sheep, they are put in Hades; death will shepherd them;

And the upright shall gain dominion over them in the morning;

And their help shall be made old in Hades away from their glory.

16 Yet God will redeem my soul

From the hand of Hades when He shall receive me.

(Pause)

17 Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich,

And when the glory of his house is increased;

18 For when he dies, he shall carry nothing away;

Neither will his glory descend with him.

19 For his soul shall be blessed in his lifetime;

He will acknowledge You when You do him good.

20 He shall enter the generations of his fathers;

He shall not see light forever.

21 A man being in honor did not understand;

He was compared to the senseless cattle, and became like them.

Proverbs 10:7–11

7 The blessing of the Lord is upon the head of a righteous man,

But untimely grief will cover the mouth of the ungodly.

8 The remembrance of the righteous is with eulogies,

But the name of an ungodly man is extinguished.

9 The wise man in heart will receive the commandments,

But the man unguarded in speech will be overthrown in his perverseness.

10 He who walks in sincerity walks confidently,

But he who perverts his ways will be known.

11 He who winks his eyes deceitfully gathers grief for men,

But he who reproves boldly is a peacemaker.

Mark 4:1–20

1 And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea.

2 Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:

3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.

4 “And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.

5 “Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth.

6 “But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.

7 “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.

8 “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

9 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Purpose of Parables

10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.

11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,

  12 “so that

‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,

And hearing they may hear and not understand;

Lest they should turn,

And their sins be forgiven them.’ ”

The Parable of the Sower Explained

13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

14 “The sower sows the word.

15 “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

16 “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.

18 “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,

19 “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.20 “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

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