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March 29, Day #89 – This Also is a Warning

Today’s readings are filled with warnings. In Numbers 23:27-26:11, we see the foolishness of the prophet Balaam. We must remember that – though Balaam is indeed a prophet – he is nevertheless a reprobate. He is an example of a prophet who knows God (cf., Numbers 22:18), but he knows God only in the same sense that Judas knew Jesus. Balaam knows of God’s existence and he recognizes God’s sovereignty. He can only say what God allows or directs him to say (cf., Numbers 22:18; 22:38; 23:8; 23:12; 23:26; and 24:13). Balaam is ambitious; he is keen to exploit his prophetic gift; and he is accommodating, but he is not a follower of God. This is “the way of Balaam” (cf., 2 Peter 2:15) and it is “the error of Balaam” (cf., Jude 11). Foolishly, Balaam believed that God must curse Israel because of its sin – ignoring God’s sovereignty in electing Israel and failing to allow room for His forgiveness of their sins. Balaam is a classic illustration of a prophet (1) who is not immune to the temptations and problems of sin (especially in his own life), and (2) who is not fully supportive of the program and message of God. Sound like anyone we observe today? God is warning us about people like Balaam. In Numbers 25, we also see the foolishness of the Israelite men, who - rejecting God’s purposes – “began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women” (verse 1). We also are not exempt from attending to these warnings. We note that their sexual misconduct led to idolatry. “The LORD’s anger burned against them” (verse 3), and the result of all this nonsense: God sent a plague from which 24,000 of the people died (verse 9). The zeal of Phinehas pleased God, Who “made a covenant of peace with him” (verse 12). How can anyone fail to see God’s warnings in these chapters?

In Psalm 38:1-12, David identifies the reasons for God’s warnings and the source of his problem: “sinful folly” (verse 5). Sin is foolish. All of our issues - spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological, and social - derive from “sinful folly.” All sin is folly, and alone, we are unable to correct it. We need a God Who can forgive. Thank God for His solution to our dilemma!

Luke 7:11-35 reveals to us hard evidence of God’s answer to our problem of folly and sin. Notice, “the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised” (verse 22). Yet, this section ends with a contrasting warning against folly - “wisdom is proved right by her children” (verse 35). The Pharisees were like the children of folly, who “were sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: ‘We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a dirge; and you did not mourn’” (verse 32). They were taunting [i.e., mocking] others [specifically, John the Baptist and Jesus; verses 33-34]. However, wisdom’s children recognize God’s existence and authority; they confess their own helplessness, need, and sin; and they receive God’s purposes and provision for salvation. People, like the Pharisees, who “reject God’s purposes” (verse 30) are foolish. This also is a warning.

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I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis‘s Chronicles of Narnia to the girls, usually one or two chapters per night, as often as I can. We are currently reading The Silver Chair.

In this story, the great Lion Aslan gives the two human children a quest—four tasks that He could have, Himself, achieved in the blink of an eye. I think the reason He wants them to do these tasks is so that they will fail and recognize their own helplessness and folly.

He clearly loves them and wants them to succeed, but He knows they won’t. His instructions to them are also in the form of warnings… e.g., “if you don’t accomplish the first task, the rest of them will be…

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