Articles

Numbers 24-25 – Skip Heitzig


Introduction: Welcome to Expound our weekly
worship and verse by verse study of the Bible. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the
truth of God as we explore the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and
congregational. Skip Heitzig: We’re doing what I believe the
early church did when in the book of Acts it says, “They devoted themselves to the apostle’s
doctrine,” the apostle’s doctrine. If you think about it, the apostles didn’t have a
Bible like you and I have. They didn’t have a New Testament and a leather-bound book like
we carry around. So the apostle’s doctrine would be all of the teachings they knew about
Christ, the ones that they had personally witnessed and followed, and they would teach,
showing the early church how the Old Testament predictions and the Old Testament writings
were fulfilled in this Messiah that they’re now following. That must have been the apostle’s
doctrine that they devoted themselves to. So the Bible, if they had a Bible, and the
Bible of Christ was the Old Testament. So we, in like manner, take the old covenant,
the first five books of Moses, in this case we’re studying the book of Numbers, seek to
make application to understand the foundation for New Testament truth. We’ve been studying
Balaam the last few chapters and we hope to finish up chapter 24 and 25 tonight. So Balaam
is one of those enigmatic, mysterious people that I told you about before in the Bible.
And when I read about it, I scratch my head and go, “Hard to figure this guy out.” Clearly
called a false prophet in the New Testament, bad things are attributed to him. Peter, Jude, and the book of Revelation mention
him, not favorably. They speak of “the error of Balaam,” “the way of Balaam,” and “the
doctrine of Balaam”—all in a negative way. More literary real estate is given to Balaam
than Mary the mother of Jesus or any of the twelve apostles of Christ. And yet the Spirit
of living God speaks through him, overriding his bad motivation, overriding his false doctrine,
and miraculously uses him as a vessel. And so we scratch our heads and the only thing
that gives us comfort—because we wonder, “How could God use somebody like that to speak
truth through?” I take comfort in the fact that God spoke
through his donkey first, [laughter] because that prepares me to hear what he has to say
through him. Once I got past, “Man, he spoke through a donkey,” then I realize he can use
anybody to speak through. “The eyes of the Lord,” the Bible says, “go to and fro throughout
the entire earth, that he might show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are
loyal toward him.” So we come to the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Numbers.
And I’m reminded when I read of Balaam of a story of a preacher who when his wife came
home he said, “Honey, I’ve got some news that I want to tell you about, that I want to pray
about.” “There’s a church in the next town that has
invited me to come and pastor. I know we’re already in a church and we pastor here, but
this church is larger, the congregation is richer, and the people are just a lot nicer,
and they’ve asked me to come and pastor. So I’m going to go upstairs and talk to the Lord
and pray about what the Lord wants me to do.” And she said, “Well, I’ll go upstairs and
pray with you to find out what the Lord’s will is.” And he said, “Oh, no, no, no. I’ll
pray to see what the Lord’s will is and you stay downstairs and pack.” [laughter] That’s
what I think about when I read about Balaam. He was already packing. He already made up
his mind. He had already decided. Even though the Lord said, “Don’t go with
Balak,” he went anyway. He was bent on going his own way because he wanted to get the financial
remuneration that would come from being associated with the king of Moab. So he went and the
Lord said, “Okay, I’m going to let you go, but only speak what I tell you to speak.”
And we saw how there were a couple of oracles, pronouncements, proclamations, prophecies
given by this Balaam as Balak brought him to different locations. He brought him to
one location and he says, “Okay, look at the children of Israel scattered down before you
and curse them for me.” And instead he blessed them, because the Lord actually spoke to him
a blessing for them. Bummed Balak out greatly. Balak moved him to another location and said,
“Well, try it in this place. If that spot caused you to bless them, maybe if you see
them from this angle”—you know, sort of like real estate, it’s all about location,
location, location—“so from this location now curse them,” and he blessed them. So now
we’re on place number three. He takes him, Balak takes Balaam to the top of a mountain
called Mount Peor, which is on the eastern side of the Jordan, eastern side of the Dead
Sea overlooking the vast wilderness below. He is on Mount Peor, and I want you to remember
Peor, P-E-O-R, because not only is it a mountain, but it’s associated with a false god. And the very first time we read of the children
of Israel worshiping Baal will be in these chapters. It won’t be the last time. It’ll
plague them throughout their history. But this is the first time and so this place became
known as Baal Peor. Baal Peor, because there was a temple build to the god, and I’ll describe
who he is, Baal, to the god Baal in Peor. And the temple was built there probably because
there was some event that happened that was attributed to this false god, Baal. Now who
was Baal? Well, that’s an important question because you will read about him throughout
the Old Testament. Baal or better pronounced Ba’al [bah’al] was the storm god. He, they thought, controlled the rain, the
sun, all of the natural forces, and was responsible for bringing fertility to the land. So they
will depend on Baal for rain. They were agrarian. It was an agricultural society. So whenever
there was a drought in the land of Israel, they would be tempted to worship the false
gods of those around them who were depending on those gods to bring them rain. Now, listen
to this: it was believed that fertility, whether it was fertility in your crops or in your
cattle or in your family, was the direct result of a sexual union between the gods and goddesses
that reigned over you, that there was a cojoining of a god and a goddess. And so the worshipers would seek to imitate
that union or that joining. So the worship of Baal was very sexual, was sensual in orientation.
There would be a priestess and men would join themselves to these temple prostitutes, these
priestesses. And the idea is to emulate what Baal was doing with his cohort. And if you
remember your Bibles, you Bible students, her name was Ashtoreth or Asherah in some
places. You ever read Asherah in the Old Testament or Ashtoreth? The goddess Astarte was believed
to have come down from heaven in a giant egg, so in the springtime on Astarte Day they would
give eggs to each other, Astarte, Easter. That’s why we like to say “Happy Resurrection
Day.” But that worship system was all around Israel,
and Balaam was a part of that culture. So, so far what Balaam has done is sort of con
Balak. What he says so far is using his sorcery or divination. He says when he comes to this
location that Balak takes him to, “Okay, Balak, tell you what. You prepare your sacrifice,
these animals on the altars that I told you. Go stand by those sacrifices, and I’ll go
talk to God, and I’ll see whatever word he brings back.” Now, the idea was that he was
conning him. It was all about sorcery, that he would make something up, some kind of a
proclamation; in this case it would have been a curse. But now and in every one of those
situations, he comes back and gives a blessing, not a curse. But now there is this overwhelming, direct
voice from the Spirit of God that speaks through him in a very direct and unusual manner in
chapter 24. “Now,” verse 1, “when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel,
he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the
wilderness.” None of this, “Balak, stand by your sacrifice, your burnt offerings, while
I go get some message from God.” But he didn’t even try to con Balak anymore. He just stood
there facing the wilderness and will utter a prophecy. “And Balaam raised his eyes, and
saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. And he
took up an oracle and he said”— It might help you if you understand that in
the Old Testament era and in this time that we’re dealing with all the people around Israel
believed in a couple of different ideas. Number one, they were polytheistic. You’ve heard
the term “polytheism,” the worship of many gods. The lakes, the rivers, the sea, the
sky, the land, the mountains, the plains, they all had their own different gods. The
gods were in control of the universe, the natural order. So there were many gods because
there were many geographical locations. Attached to polytheism was something very unique to
this era: henotheism, henotheism. It was the belief that not only were there
many gods, but that each god was assigned a specific geographical location, so that
if you occupied one location and you were fighting people who occupied another location,
even though you’re doing battle in the human realm, it’s actually a battle between the
gods of those realms. Now, I bring this up because later on when we get further on in
the Old Testament, in the book of Kings and Chronicles, when Israel, the northern kingdom
of Israel, those ten northern tribes are fighting against Syria, and as they fight against Syria
and they win the battle, the king of Syria named Ben-Hadad gives this as an explanation
for the loss. He says, “Well, their gods are the gods of
the mountains, therefore they are stronger than we are. But if we would have fought this
battle out in the open plains, we would have won. For their god is the god of the mountains,
our god is the god of the valleys or the plains. So the reason we lost was because we fought
on their territory. Their gods beat us.” So there was polytheism and there was henotheism.
In the middle of that was Israel, neither polytheistic or henotheistic, but—what?—monotheistic,
one God, Lord over all. And all those other gods were made up. They were fig newtons of
their imagination. They did not exist. They weren’t gods at all. There’s only one true
living God. In the midst of that polytheism and that henotheism
was the monotheistic God of Israel. And Balaam is discovering that as the Lord speaks through
him. So, “The Spirit of God came on him. And he took up an oracle and he said: ‘The utterance
of Balaam the son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened.’ “Remember,
he was called a seer, right, because he could see into the future? But his eyes have been
opened. He is discovering Yahweh the true God of the Jewish nation, the God of Israel.
“‘The utterance of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty,
who falls down, with eyes wide open.’ ” In other words, “I’ve had an overwhelming
vision that has caused me to go down on the ground on my knees or prostrate, but my eyes
are wide open. I’m not asleep.” By the way, there’s a difference between dreams and visions:
dreams happen when you’re asleep; visions happen when you’re awake. This was a vision.
His eyes were wide open. But he was compelled to go down before the Spirit of the Lord.
And he says, “‘how lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!’ “Now you
can just—you can just see the wheels turning in Balak’s head.”Oh, not again, another blessing!
I wanted him to blast them, not bless them.” ” ‘Like valleys that stretch out, like gardens
by the riverside, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters. He shall
pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters.’ “So this now is
the third proclamation, the third oracle, this time from Mount Peor looking down over
the tents of Israel. I love this description and I want you to notice that I draw your
attention to it, in verse 7, “He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall
be in many waters.” Israel is pictured as a man carrying two buckets of water. Water
is the source of life, the source of refreshment. And so picture the man with two buckets pouring
out the waters of refreshment. But you’ll notice, “And his seed shall be
in many waters.” What I see in this verse is a reversal, an ironic reversal of what
Pharaoh once tried to do to Israel. Israel once tried to drown the seed of Israel in
the waters of the Nile River, kill them with the waters, let the abundant waters be their
death. Now the imagery of the man with water is the Lord’s blessing upon them. The very
thing you thought would be their end, God will bless them instead, and will use the
water to spread them around. Not only will they be blessed and contented, but the water,
just like if seeds fell off of a tree and it was washed downstream, so Israel will grow
and flourish and spread throughout the land and throughout the world. If you look at the population of the world—today
I was on the computer and I thought, “What’s the population of the world today?” because
it keeps going up exponentially. There’s actually a clock that shows you just how many people
are being born every second and the clock is spinning. It’s crazy. There’s over 7 billion
people right now on this globe, 7 billion humans. About 13 million of them are Jewish.
That’s about two-thirds of 1 percent. That’s it, so small, like a little seed. And, yet
25 to 33 percent of all Nobel Prizes in literature, in science, in the arts have been given to
Jewish people. It’s like they have become a source of great blessing. Some examples of that: the Wassermann test
for syphilis, digitalis, was discovered by a Jewish doctor, Dr. Nuslin; chloral hydrate
that is used to treat convulsions discovered by Dr. Lifreich, also Jewish; streptomycin,
discovered by Dr. Abraham Waksman, Jewish; polio pill by Dr. Albert Sabin, Jewish; polio
vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk, Jewish doctor. Now look again at that prophecy and see how
it fits. “And his seed shall be in many waters.” Remember God told Abraham, “Not only in you
will all the nations of the earth be blessed,” speaking, I believe, principally of Jesus
Christ the Jewish Messiah, but he said, “You will be a blessing, Abraham, you and your
descendants will become a blessing.” And so God has used them. Balak’s trying to
curse them. Balaam says, “I can’t curse them, God has blessed them.” He goes on in verse
7, “‘His king’ “—that is, Israel’s king. Now, they didn’t have a king. Who was their
first king? Saul. Their second king? Good, you know your history, David. “‘His king shall
be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.’ “Now, what does that mean? What
does that refer to? Because if you’re a Bible student, you know that Agag was the king of
the Amalekites. He won’t even be born for a few hundred years. That was the king that
Saul—remember Saul the first king failed to annihilate when God says, “Go out and take
care of the Amalekite problem,” and he didn’t do it? He came up with a flaky excuse and God tore
the kingdom away from him. The king of the Amalekites was Agag, and yet he’s mentioned
here that he will be greater than Agag. Now, that could be a prediction of this future
king, but he wasn’t all that great to begin with. Probably the term “Agag” is a title,
not a name. Just like the king of Egypt is—who?—pharaoh. But there are many pharaohs. It’s a dynasty.
It’s simply a title. So you have many pharaohs, that’s a title, that’s a king. Or also, if
you remember in Genesis, the king of Gerar was named Abimelech, and then years later
another king was named Abimelech, and then another king. That was a title of a ruler,
not a name specifically. So it could refer to the king that is coming,
the king of Israel is going to be greater than the one who bears the title Agag, the
king of Moab, and eventually the king of the Amalekites. That would be meaningful to Balak,
because that’s a term he was used to. “‘He will be higher than Agag, and his kingdom
shall be exalted.’ “Here’s the question: Which king is Balaam referring to when he says,
“his king,” speaking of Israel’s king? Well, I don’t think it’s Saul the first king, because
he is rejected. Certainly, it’s a possible reference to David who will subjugate many
of the peoples, including this nation. But it is probably and certainly best fits
the greater Son of David, Jesus Christ, because he will truly bring refreshment. And I don’t
just mean spiritually. But according to Isaiah, chapter 35, the Messiah will bring in a reign
that will encompass the world, and it will be like a well-watered garden on the earth
in the kingdom age, in the millennial kingdom. It will be lush and verdant and filled with
water around the earth. So a very real part of Messiah’s reign is as described here: “He
shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters.” “‘God brings
him out of Egypt,’ ” speaking of their past deliverance from Pharaoh. “‘He has strength like a wild ox; he shall
consume the nations, his enemies; he shall break their bones and pierce them with his
arrows. “He bows down, he lies down as a lion,” ‘ ” and then notice, ” ‘ “He bows down, he
lies down as a lion; as a lion, who shall rouse him?” ‘” What I find interesting about
this—I did a little comparison with the predictions of Jacob on his deathbed when
his twelve sons were gathered around. When he gets to Judah, remember he says, “Judah
is a lion’s whelp . . . and the scepter will not depart from Judah until [the Messiah]
Shiloh appears”? He uses the exact same wording of his son Judah when he says, “He bows down,
he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him?” It’s as if Balaam knows of that prophecy or
the Spirit of God puts that same thought on his heart and he predicts it toward the nation.
And notice this, this will sound familiar to you: “‘Blessed is he who blesses you and
cursed is he who curses you.’ “Now that sounds exactly like Genesis 12.”And the Lord said
to Abraham, ‘I’m going to make you a blessing. And whoever blesses you, I will bless; and
whoever curses you, they will be cursed.’ “Some time ago we had a conference here at
the church with Joel Rosenberg and some other speakers. Some of them were Jewish pastors,
some of them were Arab pastors, some of them were Bible prophecy experts. And at the Epicenter Conference one of these
Jewish Israeli pastors was asked a question. We asked him: What is one thing you would
like the American church to know about you or you would like America to know about you?
And he said, “With all due respect, the one thing I would like America to know about us
is—thank you for your support, but we don’t need you.” [laughter] And I thought about
how profound that was. And I’ll tell you why it’s profound: because there’s this rhetoric,
I hear it in the news, even in the best of news stations, that “Israel needs America.
Israel needs America to be an ally. Israel needs international support. “Look at them, isolated with all those enemies
around them wanting to throw them into the sea.” It is true, they want to throw them
into the sea, but they say they “need America.” As I see it, it’s the other way around—America
needs Israel. And I think that that pastor was speaking truth and being very profound:
“Honestly, thank you for your support, but we don’t need you. We believe we have God
and he’s the only One we need even with all of our enemies that are perched and poached
against us.” So think about it, think about historically those nations that have attacked
Israel that are no longer any world power at all. When was the last time you met an
Assyrian or a Babylonian? Egypt still exists, but under lots of turmoil.
They’re not a superpower. They once ruled the world. In more modern times, Spain, Germany,
Russia, once great powers, now second-rate at best. And what do they have in common?
They all went against God’s people, the Jewish people. When I say “God’s people,” I’m not
saying perfect people. They just happened to have a covenant with the living God. And
God said to Abraham, “Those who bless you, I will bless; those who curse you, I will
curse.” And here read it again: “‘Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who
curses you,’ ” probably turning to Balak and going wink, wink, “Like you, dude.” “Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam,
and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, ‘I called you to curse my
enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!’ “Three softball lobs
were given to him and he missed all of them. Strike three, dude. You’re out. “‘Now therefore,
flee to your place.’ “Get out of town!” ‘I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact,
the Lord has kept you back from honor.’ “What a cheap shot.”You know, I really wanted to
give you some money and bless you financially, but your God or the God you’re prophesying
about”—Yahweh is the term, the covenant name—“he’s kept you back from it.” I have several thoughts, and I don’t want
to spin out and lose traction here, but that is the philosophy of the world: “Oh, you could
have been something, but you want to serve God so you’re going to the mission field.
You’re really wasting your life serving the Lord. You could be in college and be somebody
great.” “So Balaam said to Balak, ‘Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent
to me, saying, “If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not
go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says,
that I must speak”? And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you
what this people [Israel] will do to your people in the latter days.’ ” In other words, “I will go home, but I’m not
done yet. Now I have some words about you and about your people. And you’re trying to
curse these people? Now, let me tell you about these people in relation to your people.”
Now he’s going far out into the future with this one, because notice what he says: “I
will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.” So this fourth
oracle, this final, fourth prophetic utterance speaks about Israel and Moab, which became
peoples east of Israel, and some of these other associated allies in the latter days
further on, very, very profound. “So he took up his oracle and he said: ‘The
utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened; the utterance
of him who hears the words of God, and has the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the
vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes wide open’ “—now listen—” ‘I see
him, but not now.’ “Who him? What “him” is he referring to? “‘I see him, but, but now;
I behold him, but not near.’ “Someone is coming, he’s not here yet. It’s not right now, but
he is coming. Who? Further description is given: “‘A Star, a Star shall come out of
Jacob.’ “In Revelation 22 Jesus Christ is called “the Bright and the Morning Star.” Lucifer was a copy of that: “How you are fallen
from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” He was always an imitator of the real Star.
He wanted top billing in God’s movie. He’s a second-rate star, a fallen star. Jesus is
the real Star, the All-Star. “‘A Star shall come out of Jacob,’ “and notice this, “‘a
scepter.’ “Same language as in Genesis 49. A “scepter” is the right to rule as the king
and the implement that was held up that designated that you had kingship. “‘A Scepter shall rise
out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab.’ “He’s going to come and get down on you. He’s
going to beat you up. He’s going to “batter the brow of Moab.” Remember this is the king
of Moab he’s talking to. “‘And destroy all the sons of tumult.’ ” Who’s coming? A Star, a King, a Scepter. Well,
let’s see, who could that be? Let’s first of all say it could be David, because David
will be one who will bring Moab and defeat them and bring them into subjection, his conquest.
But it is best to see this way into the future, way into the latter days when Jesus Christ
will return. That’s written about in Revelation, chapter 19. He will be the King of Kings and
the Lord of Lords. He will have the scepter. He will rule over the world. And he will be
the Star of that final act of human history. “A Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” So I
see this as a prediction of Christ. In fact, 1,500 years after this a group of
stargazers, king makers, Magi they were called, came from the land of Balaam, and they came
all the way down to Judea. And they came to Jerusalem naively asking Herod and his court
and the Jewish eldership, “Where is he who is to be born King of the Jews? For we have
seen his star in the east and we have come to worship him.” What would it be that would
have tipped them off, these who came from the land of Balaam to look for a star? Perhaps
the words of Balaam, perhaps further accentuated and underscored by the words of Daniel, who
also came and lived in that era. Babylon, it was called much later on after the Babylonians
took it over. And a group in the court of Nebuchadnezzar
called Magi, the magicians of the court, who were also stargazers and prognosticators,
but Daniel was better than all of them, and Daniel gave predictions of the coming Messiah.
And it could be that he gave to those coworkers of his a detailed study of Daniel, chapter
9. If you know it, you know what it’s about: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people
and for the holy city.” So there will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks, 483 years from the time
that the commandment goes forth to restore and build Jerusalem until the Messiah the
Prince. It could be that taking the prophecies of
Balaam, since they were from that area, the prophecies of Daniel, because he had be relocated
to that area, that the influence was passed on through the ages and they knew about what
time it was. And then there was this astronomical wonder in the sky, and they said, “This must
be it. This must be God’s star leading us to the Star, the All-Star. Let’s go find him.”
And so they came. “‘And Edom,’ ” verse 18, ” ‘shall be a possession.’ “Edom is another
piece of land to the east of the Dead Sea, east of the Jordan River.” ‘Seir,’ “same area,
“‘Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, while Israel does valiantly. Out of Jacob
One shall have dominion, and destroy the remains of the city.’ ” Can I tell you a little bit about Edom, the
Edomites? Edom will become bitter enemies of Israel. When King David comes on the scene,
he will bring rule to that area. He will bring order to that area. He will subjugate the
Edomites to himself. However, as time goes on David dies and there’s a series of kings
that come after him. The Edomites will rebel and attack Israel, until—here’s the date—129
BC. Now when I say 129 BC, I’m dealing with the period of time between the Old Testament
and the New Testament. You’ve heard of that? The 400 silent years we call them, the intertestamental
period. That was the period when the Maccabees ruled in Israel. You’ve heard of the Maccabees? They overturned
the Syrian regime, Antiochus Epiphanes and all those nutcases up north. One of the Hasmonean
or the Maccabean kings, rulers, was a guy by the name of John Hyrcannus. If you want
to spell that and you’re taking notes: H-Y-R-C-A-N-N-U-S, John Hyrcannus. He defeated the Edomites and
they ceased to exist as a nation from that time on. However, the leftover Edomites lived
with Jewish people intermingling with the Jews until 70 AD when the temple was destroyed,
the Jews were dispersed. Edomites were never heard of again. They’re gone. When was the
last time you met an Edomite? You’ll never meet one. They’re gone. It’s over. They don’t
exist any longer. Interesting side note: the Greeks referred
to them, the Edomites, as Idumeans. Have you ever heard of the term Idumean? Herod the
Great was an Idumean. Herod the Great—the Idumean, the Edomite, one of those who was
living among the Jewish people before they were totally extinct—was one who tried to
kill Jesus Christ with the babies in Bethlehem; trying to do to Jesus what Pharaoh once had
done to the male children of Israel, drowning them, getting rid of them. Interesting side
note, I thought it might be helpful. “Then,” verse 20, “he looked on Amalek, and took up
an oracle and he said: ‘Amalek was the first among the nations, but shall be last until
he perishes.’ ” The Amalekites were first; that is, they were
the first ones to attack Israel when they left Egypt. Exodus, chapter 16, records it.
Deuteronomy 25 tells us the way they did it is they came behind where the stragglers were.
They took up the rear. So Israel marched through the wilderness, they went behind them, and
those who were struggling and straggling and old and diseased and feeble, they attacked
them and killed them. So they become mortal enemies with the Jews until they are destroyed.
“Then”—he’s not done yet. He’s looking at another group. Verse 21, “Then he looked on
the Kenites,” and that’s the group that invented the Ken and Barbie doll that was introduced
to Mattel later on. [laughter] “Really?” No. The Kenites were a group of
people, Bedouin, nomadic travelers who lived among the Midianites, the Midianites who lived
in the area of Saudi Arabia in the Arabian Peninsula. So this is for the Kenites. He
took of this oracle and said,” ‘Firm is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the
rock; nevertheless, Kain”—Kain was the forefather, the originator of the Kenite clan—” ‘shall
be burned. How long until Asshur carries you away captive?’ “Now this nomadic group, the
Kenites, they lived among the Midianites; however, they lived up in the mountains. That
was their “nest.” They were in a rock fortress and they thought that they were impregnable,
impenetrable. Nobody would overcome them until 722 BC. You
should know that date. Bible students, what date is that, 722 BC? The Assyrian captivity.
That’s what the term “Asshur,” it’s speaking of Assyria. The Assyrians came and took them,
along with all the rest of that area, captive to their land. They over—they became the
big dogs on the block. They became world conquerors. “Then he took up his oracle and he said: ‘Alas!
Who shall live when God does this? But ships shall come from the coasts of Cyprus,’ ” out
west, ” ‘and shall afflict Asshur and afflict Eber, and so shall Amalek, until he perishes,’
“speaking of a western coalition. Eventually, Philistines will come from that
area and invade the land. Eventually, Greeks will come from the west. Eventually, Romans
will come from the west—an incredible prediction. I’m not going to go into too much detail,
except to say it’s far-reaching into the future. “And so Balaam arose and departed and returned
to his place; Balak also went his way. Now Israel remained in the Acacia Grove, and the
people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.” This is a short chapter, so we will
make it through no problem, but you need to know what’s going on here. And if you were
to just read this without reading chapter 31 of this book, you may not know. When we get to chapter 31, we’re going to
understand what happened between, or at this time between chapter 24 and 25. Here’s what
happened: what Balak and Balaam failed to do by sorcery, they will now accomplish by
seduction. What they tried by this secretive, sacred sorcery, they accomplished by sexual
seduction. We discovered that Balaam gives counsel to Balak and he says, “Look, I told
you, I can’t curse them. God has blessed them. However, you can put them in a place where
you don’t have to curse them. God will curse them for you. They’ll place themselves under
God’s curse. You see, this God is very jealous. He’s, you know, monotheistic. “So if you put them in a place where you mingle
their religion with another religion, and bring idolatry into the camp, then God will
curse them. You don’t have to worry about it. So I’ll tell you what you do—invite
them to a feast. You and the Midianites gather together and have a big feast to Baal your
god. And bring your young women into the camp and invite the young men of Israel to come
for a feast to Baal. And as you invite them, you get these young chicks, you know, all
gussied up and looking really good. And, you know, they’re just kind of mingling among
the young men, and they’ll have their little idols with them, and lure them into the tents,
cause them to commit sexual immorality with them. “And use that since that’s part of your worship
system, the worship of Baal, you will introduce idolatry and God will curse them for you.
So in verse 1, “They began to commit idolatry with the women of Moab. They invited the people
to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.” Why would
they do that? This ranks up there with the golden calf incident of chapter 32 of Exodus.
I mean, this is, like, as bad as it gets. It will be referred to throughout their history:
“Remember what happened at Baal of Peor? Remember that incident? Remember the Moabite thing?”
“Yeah.” Why would they do this? “Well, they’ve invited us to a feast, we don’t
want to offend them. I know that’s how they worship, and I know it’s not right, but you,
you can’t just be so different and so out there and so other-than-they-are; you have
to be sort of be like them if you’re going to reach them.” Ever heard that philosophy
before, that compromising philosophy? That’s the doctrine of Balaam. According to a writing
in the Jewish Talmud, it says that Balak said to Balaam, or Balaam said to Balak, the prophet
said to the king, Balaam said to Balak, “The God of this nation hates licentiousness, so
in order to destroy them prepare your daughters to commit licentious acts with them.” And he counseled them to take their little
gods, their little deities, their little pocket deities that they had and bring them out for
worship during this episode. “They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods,
and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor,
and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.” We have a principle here, folks.
It’s Satan’s principle: “If you can’t beat them, join them. If you can’t fight the church,
join the church. Fill it full of compromised, unbelieving types who look like they’re part,
but they’re really not a part. And get them through their lifestyle and their counsel
to bring others into that compromise.” It’s an inside job now, not an outside job.
God has blessed them, but their putting themselves in a “cursable” position. By the way, when
Jesus Christ was delivered up, it was an inside job. It was one of his own. It was Judas Iscariot
who did it. That’s how it all happened. “Then the Lord said so Moses, ‘Take all the leaders
of the people and hang the offenders before the Lord,’ ” God demands immediate surgery,
radical surgery, “out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away against
Israel.’ So Moses said to the judges of Israel, ‘Every one of you kill his men who were joined
to Baal of Peor.’ “And indeed, one of the children of Israel
came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman,” one of these priestesses, “in the
sight of Moses and in the sight of the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping
at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.” So here’s the deal: when the judgment came
down and the people realized what was happening and they’re gathering, pressing together at
the door of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and they’re weeping and crying out to God,
in the midst of that repentance session one of the children of Israel, one of these guys
comes in with his prostitute, this Midianite woman who seduced him, and goes right to the
door of the tabernacle while everybody is weeping. Drags her right into the camp as like a public
display of affection in this very solemn meeting. “Now,” verse 7, “when Phinehas the son of
Eleazar, the son of Aaron [or the grandson of Aaron] the priest, saw it, he rose up from
among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand.” According to First Chronicles,
chapter 9, Phinehas was one of the gatekeepers of the tabernacle, so this was his job to
maintain purity and order. “And he went after the man of Israel into his tent and thrust
both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague
was stopped among the children of Israel.” Again, extreme surgery, and Phinehas was there
to make sure they got the point. “And those who died in the plague were twenty-four
thousand. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron
the priest, has turned back my wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous
with my zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in my zeal.
Therefore say, “Behold, I give to him [my covenant of shalom] my covenant of peace;
and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood,
because he was zealous for his God, and he made atonement for the children of Israel.”
‘ “Now the name of the Israelite who was killed,
who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father’s
house among the Simeonites.” So he’s from the tribe of Simeon. He belongs to a prominent
family, a leader’s son. Perhaps, thus he thought, “Because I’m the son of a leader I have sort
of special favor. I have special immunity. I can do things that other people can’t do.”
But Phinehas took guarding the tabernacle very, very seriously: “I’m going to make sure
that there is purity in God’s house among God’s people.” “And the name of the Midianite
woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of” Bill. [laughter] I mean, “Of Zur,” not
the daughter of Bill. “He was the head of the people of a father’s
house in Midian,” prominent in Midian. “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Harass the
Midianites, and attack them; for they harassed you with their schemes by which they seduced
you in the matter of Peor, in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian,
their sister, who was killed the day of the plague because of Peor.’ ” Now, God has been
criticized and the Bible is criticized because of the chapter that you and I just read, the
brutality by which Phineanhas [sic]—Phineanhas?—Phinehas did what he did, making these two get the
point. He’s criticized because of that, that brutality. And then God is criticized because, “Look,
he’s a warmongering God, and then God says go after this whole people group.” Let me
addresses that. Actually, God is merciful. I’ve known people who have gone to the doctor
and the doctor examined them and said, “There’s a part of your body that has to be cut out,
has to be removed. An amputation must take place.” “Well, that’s so cruel. How can you
be a good doctor? You’re a quack! You should have your license revoked. You’re supposed
to save life, not destroy it. You took the Hippocratic Oath, it sounds like the hypocritic
oath to me. Why would you do that?” He’s a good doctor. If he lets that remain, it could
kill the whole body. So in taking away the cancer, Israel is saved.
Not only that, but do you realize how patient God has been with the Canaanite population?
Let me remind you how patient. Back in Genesis, chapter 15—Genesis, chapter 15, God speaks
and he says to Abraham, “Your descendants are going to be captive, prisoners in a land
not their own for four hundred years. And then after that they’re going to return to
this land, Abraham, after four hundred years, because”—listen—“the iniquity of the Amorites
is not yet full.” Let me—let me esplain [sic]. Already when God said that in Genesis
15, the Amorites, the Canaanite population, one of those subgroups had been in the land
of Canaan for already 400 years. For 400 years God was already patient with
them letting them stay there. Another 400 years would go by while Israel would be under
the bondage of the Egyptians. He wouldn’t let them have the land at that point until
400 more years, because God said, “I can’t let you have the land now, I have to wait
four hundred more years, because the iniquity, the sin of the Amorites is not yet full.”
In other words, God waited 800 years before he punished the Canaanites and destroyed them,
and told the children of Israel, “Drive them out.” He was patient with them 800 years sending
warnings to them to see if perhaps they would change. They didn’t change. So there comes a point when God’s wrath must
eclipse God’s mercy, when God’s judgment must interact with man’s sinfulness, because there
has been no turn, no change. Because “God is not mocked; and whatever a man sows, that
he shall also reap.” So God was patient with them, and when he could be patient no longer,
and it’s as if you’re filling up a tub or a vessel with water and it’s not yet at the
top yet. I’m going to be patient. It’s not yet at the top yet. Oh, that sin is sort of
getting closer and closer to the rim. Okay, now, it’s at the very top. It’s filled up.
“The iniquity of the Amorites is now filled up and now I’m sending my people in as instruments
to destroy what I have created and is mine to begin with.” And they became the instruments of God’s judgment
at that time. God is slow to anger. I would say 800 years is pretty slow, patient for
800 years, God is slow to anger. By the way, none of them turned in repentance, except
for one person. Her name was Rahab. She was a harlot. And when the spies by Joshua were
sent into Jericho, that one harlot said, “You should know that all of us, all of these people
live in dread of you. We’re in fear of you. We’ve heard what your God did to Og and the
other kings.” And she is the one that had that scarlet cord that was let out the window,
and by her faith she was saved. It’s an illustration, if you think about it,
a whole civilization, nobody turns, nobody believes, except one. Remember what Jesus
said in the Sermon on the Mount? He said, “Enter into the narrow gate; for narrow is
the way that leads to life, and broad is the way and wide is the gate that leads to destruction,
and many enter therein.” The way to God is a very narrow way. “You’re so narrow-minded,
Skip.” Absolutely! You probably have no idea how narrow I am. “Narrow is the way,” Christ
said it, “wide is the way that leads to destruction, and many”—many?—“few.” If you think about
it, all roads lead to God. They don’t lead to heaven, but all roads will lead to God. Pick any road, any philosophy, any lifestyle
you want, you’ll see God one day. “It’s appointed for every man to die once” and every human
being will stand before God to be evaluated. So if you think all roads lead to God, you’re
right, but it’s a road you don’t want to go on, because the wide part of that road leads
to destruction. The narrow road leads to life, and that’s the road of Christ. You say, “One
way? One way? Only one way?” Yeah, only one way. But how merciful that God made a way,
that he threw out the rope, that he said, “I’ve got a way for you.” He could have said, “Yeah, you know what?
The world is hopeless. I’ve waited a long time, I’m slow to anger, but I’m just wiping
you all out. Good night.” He said, “Tell you what, I’ll make a way possible. I’ll put all
of your sin, all of your junk, all of your nonsense, all of your crud, all of your bad
attitudes on one man. I’ll punish him brutally for it and let him die. The only perfect One
who ever lived and never sinned, I’ll put it all on him—all of it on him. So all you
have to do and anyone has to do is trust in him and turn to him and repent of whatever
direction you’re going in and turn to him and you’ll be saved.” Uh, last time I checked
that’s a great deal! I don’t get all bent out of shape, “I can’t
believe there’s only one way.” There’s a way! Can you imagine somebody dying, they’re drowning
in the ocean, and say, you throw a rope over. “Got any other ropes?” [laughter] “No, that’s
it.” “Only one way? Only one rope?” “Yep. You keep talking, you’re going to be dead
soon. You better grab that rope.” That’s mercy. Argue all day long or grab the rope. Father,
we begin to see with each chapter, and in this evening two chapters that help spell
out some of the salient truths that we find, not in one place, but several places throughout
Scripture, the lifeline Jesus Christ was predicted even there, even then. A King shall come, a Star, the All-Star, one
with the scepter, the One who will rule and reign, the King of Kings who will bring life
and refreshment in his kingdom, spiritually, but one day literally to this earth as he
rules and reigns. And he has provided a way, a way of salvation, a lifeline, a rope. Father,
we have seen this last weekend, and the week before, a couple weeks before, many cling
to that lifeline and say yes to Christ. We’re so grateful for that. We remember the night
or the day that we did. It’s still fresh in our memory banks, but it could be that for
some it’s not. For some they don’t remember a specific time where a decision was made,
a choice was made to cooperate with your salvation, to say yes to Jesus. They can’t think of a time when there has
been a turning from, what you call repentance in the Bible, a turning from and then a turning
to you where it’s become personal and real and authentic. And so, Father, the lifeline
is out. Jesus said, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. No man comes to the
Father unless he comes through me.” “Unless a man is born again, he will never see the
kingdom of God.” Lord, I just would pray that if anyone is gathered here or listening by
radio or watching on television with HisChannel as this is going around the world who doesn’t
know Jesus personally, that this would be the time that changes. If you’re in this room tonight and your life
isn’t what it should be and you’re ready to surrender and give your life to Jesus Christ,
maybe for the first time, maybe you need to rededicate your life because you’ve been backslidden,
disobedient, walking away. But you’re going to be man or woman enough to admit that and
say, “I need God’s mercy. I need God’s help. I want to grab that lifeline.” You might even
be a religious person, you’ve gone to church your whole life, maybe you even occupied a
leadership position or you do now in a church, but if you look deep down in your heart, you’re
not a saved man or a woman. The lifeline of Christ is extended to you tonight. If you
want to grab a hold of that, I want to pray for you. I want to know who I’m praying for, so I’m
going to ask you as our heads are bowed that you raise your hand up. Raise it up in the
air and say, “Pray for me. I’m going to do this. I’m going to give my life to Christ
right now.” God bless you, toward the back, in the middle, and right up here on the side;
in the front, and on my side, on the right. Yes, sir, right in the middle up front. God
bless you, sir. Anybody else? A couple of you in the balcony. Anybody else? Lifeline’s
extended. It’s not me, it’s not a church, it’s not a religion, it’s not a denomination,
it’s Jesus Christ personally. Anyone else? Raise that hand up. Right on, toward the back
on my left. Father, thank you and I pray along with my
brothers and sisters for each human, each person, each man or woman tonight that’s here
that raised that hand up, uniquely created by you, uniquely loved by you. You have a
unique plan for them and I pray that they would enter into a little bit of the apprehension
of that plan even tonight, and their faith would blossom, their life would blossom, you’d
place a deep satisfaction and rest and peace in their hearts as they will walk away knowing
“My sins are forgiven.” Give them strength to walk and to follow you every day, in Jesus’
name, amen. Would you stand to your feet? We’re going
to sing this song in closing and really quickly if you raised your hand—and I saw a bunch
of you around here. Jesus so often called people publicly, and we believe in that. We
believe that a public declaration, amongst Christians especially, who are going to applaud
for the decision you’ve made, goes a long way in settling that in your heart and giving
you firm footing for the future. So I’m going to ask you to make a stand for Christ. If
you raised your hand tonight, as we sing this song, would you just find the nearest aisle
wherever you are, if you’re in the balcony come down the stairs, come right up here to
the front and give your life to Christ. I’m going to lead you in a prayer, a prayer
to receive Jesus. Come on this way. [worship music plays] Just stand it up here tonight.
[applause] God bless you and you. You come on. If you’re in the balcony, just go down
those steps. I saw some hands in the very back, come on down. Come right up here. Let’s
make it public, make it your own, make it personal. [worship music plays] Real quickly,
anybody else? Anyone else? Even if you didn’t raise the hand or I didn’t acknowledge you,
that’s right, come on down. I saw a lot of different hands go up. God bless you guys.
[applause] That’s right. I love it, love it. Awesome, awesome. Good move. Anyone else?
Anyone else? Hey, those of you who have come forward, I’m
going to lead you in a prayer right now to receive Christ. I’m going to ask you to say
these words from your heart as you turn your life over to him. This is a new beginning
for you. This is a new start for you. This is a do-over. This is being born again. Let’s
pray. Say: Lord, I give you my life. I know that I’m a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe
in Jesus Christ, that he came to earth from heaven that he died on a cross, that his blood
paid for my sin, and that he rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin, I turn to Jesus
as my Savior and as the Lord of my life. Help me to follow you every day, in Jesus’ name,
amen. [cheers and applause]

1
Comment
  • Hello Calvary of Albuquerque! First–I want to say–God have given the man of Skip Heitzig a phenomenal resource of knowledge–that I must praise The Lord for! God had led me to tap into this knowledge, and it is causing me to want even more knowledge of The Word of god–to such a level that I don't think I have ever experienced before. Ad this is coming from a guy who had been having a walk with the Lord for nearly 4 decades! So–honestly people–THANK YOU! And thank God you are so willing to share this resource with those of us who need these valuable resources! IF I am ever able to move to move to your area–your Church–will become my Church.–Although in truthfulness–I feel like your Church IS my Church–because I am currently getting more from you guys, the I am getting from my current Church!

    So now that I am past the butter up section, (LOLOLOL!), I do have a question for Skip, or for whoever is allowed to respond to the question–Wasn't Moses former father in law, Jethro, a Midianite? And since that would be a yes–wouldn't Moses have some concerns about killing people who at one time, (or perhaps still–depending o how close he was to them). were/are his relatives…via the line of in-laws?

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