In a world where science tells us that everything is deteriorating and we’re all one day closer to our physical death it’s nice to think that there might be something we are getting better at. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that this is in fact the essence of ethics; to find purpose through habitual improvement.
Balaam has Balak build seven altars to make sacrifices on before he goes to speak for God. Balak is not pleased with the word that Balaam gives him and decides to repeat the cycle two more times. Why seven altars? Is Balaam operating in faith or fear? Does God put true things in the mouths of false prophets? Chad and Daniel discuss all of this. Have a listen!
Many say Balaam was a prophet, but this was not so. Balaam was no prophet. At least, not a prophet of Yahweh. He was definitely a false prophet, a prophet for hire. He was a thief and a trickster who meddled with powers beyond his comprehension. For lack of a better term, he was a warlock or sorcerer.
When the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian church, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?", he's not imagining some new way of worship. He's drawing a direct line from Israel's history to the present tense.
I got your life application right here! First off, Happy New Year! It's 2019 and there's a sense of optimism floating about in the air. Now, please allow me to continue that, and bring you more good feelings of gumdrops and cherry licorice. How would you feel if someone you knew suddenly died?
Daniel and Erick first spend some more time on verses 16 and 17. Why does Paul need to say that he is not ashamed of the gospel he preaches? What does it mean that “righteous shall live by faith?” They then move on and discuss what the law of God exposes us to be, some of the ways we spurn Him and how judgement works for those who haven’t heard the law.
If I were granted three wishes, one of them would not be to know what the future holds. I have enough trouble wrestling with today’s demons. I don’t want to know what crosses I’ll have to lug around tomorrow. As the wise Rabbi said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” And some days are so sufficiently evil that tomorrow looms like the open jaws of hell.
When one preaches the law the way the Bible does (unattainably high for the sinner), it doesn’t leave one shred of hope that we’re somehow going to cut the mustard. It strips away any illusions that our obedience or lack thereof is what will make us acceptable before a holy God.
We are introduced to a strange character Balaam. Out of fear of their numbers, king Balak summons Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam asks God twice if he should go. God is angry and sends an angel to stand in Balaam’s way. Balaam’s life is saved by his talking donkey. It’s a very odd and funny passage, Chad and Daniel discuss it all. Have a listen!
No Christian can boast that his own efforts have made him a member of Christ, with other Christians, in the common faith. Nor can he by any work constitute himself a Christian. He performs good works by virtue of having become a Christian, in the new birth, through faith, regardless of any merit of his own.