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Sunday, October 1st, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: March 5th

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“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”

Numbers 22:1-20

Numbers 22:1-3

Yet they ought to have rejoiced, for the Amorites had been their great enemies, and Israel had put them down: but men who are bent on opposing God’s servants are under such an infatuation that they know not their own mercies.

Numbers 22:4-6

Moab hated Israel, but did not come to open fighting at first. Many are the underhanded enemies of Israel, but God will defeat their devices.

Numbers 22:9

Probably Balaam was surprised beyond measure that God should actually come to him. He had been a mere magician, but now for awhile the true prophetic spirit filled him.

Numbers 22:12

What an opportunity for Balaam, if he had but been blessed with grace as well as with the prophetic gift. Here the Lord told him of a blessed people; why did he not cast in his lot with them?

Numbers 22:13 , Numbers 22:14

So far so good. Under the pressure of fear Balaam is obedient, but will he hold on?

Numbers 22:15-17

Here are larger bribes how will the prophet act now?

Numbers 22:18-20

He wanted to go, for he loved the wages of unrighteousness, and to try him he has a conditional permit to go if the princes come again and press him, but not else. We shall see in our next reading how his evil heart broke this gentle bond. He was a great man, an enlightened man, and for a while a supernaturally endowed man, but a grain of grace would have been of more value to him than all this, and for lack of it he perished miserably. O Lord, give us grace rather than the rarest endowments.


“Beware of covetousness.”

Numbers 22:21-35

Numbers 22:21

It does not seem that the princes pressed him to go, it would rather appear that they started off before him; they were evidently on before when the angel met him. A covetous man needs no tempting, he is ready for anything.

Numbers 22:22 , Numbers 22:23

Balaam knew he could not curse Israel, but he showed his will to do so by going with the men. God was justly angry with such an evil intent.

Numbers 22:22 , Numbers 22:23

Who can be proud of seeing visions since this poor beast saw an angel, and saw it sooner than a prophet?

Numbers 22:22 , Numbers 22:23

Even an ass pays reverence to the angel of God. What are those who sneer at all divine things?

Numbers 22:24-29

Balaam did not seem to be either surprised or alarmed. He was familiar with supernatural wonders, and was moreover so taken up with the one idea of gaining Balak’s reward that he neither feared nor cared. Greed for gold hardens men’s hearts beyond measure; this passion created the monster Judas and others of his class.

Numbers 22:30

The best comment upon this is to be found in Peters Second Epistle; “He was rebuked for his iniquity, the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” To go with the Moabites to obtain rewards by trying to do what he knew was contrary to God, was utter madness; even a beast was more wise than he, and it was meet that he should be so rebuked.

Numbers 22:33

God takes notice of cruelty to animals, the angel expostulates with Balaam for cruelly to his ass.

Numbers 22:34

He yields under pressure, but his heart goes after gain.

Numbers 22:35

Knowing the right, he yet desired to win the rewards of wrong doing, and went as far into opposition of God’s will as he dare.

From vanity turn off my eyes;

Let no corrupt design,

Nor covetous desires arise

Within this soul of mine.

Make me to walk in Thy commands,

‘Tis a delightful road;

Nor let my head, or heart, or hands,

Offend against my God.

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