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MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2015

The "Standing with the Bagwells" Page continues each morning with a bit of personal news. And today there are a couple of new pictures of the Revival this week.

And don't forget that the "Site Map" can point you to any one of dozens of Bible Expositions here on the Website.

Let's study God's Word together! Each day here you will find a new, freshly written Lesson.

 

Deb and me after a recent Revival Service

 

 

TODAY'S NEW LESSON:

IT IS IN MY HEART TO STUDY THE "PARABLES" OF SCRIPTURE, SOME OF THEM ANYWAY!

The first person in Scripture to speak a "parable," using that exact word, is a man named Balaam! And he himself is somewhat of a riddle! He was not a man of moral character, being unprincipled really. Yet what a Preacher he could be! Four times anyway.

Numbers 23:5-11 tells the story. "And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab. And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether."

An ungodly King, one who hated Israel and wanted her demise, has "hired" Balaam to "curse" the Jews, every single one of them!

God at first did not allow Balaam to go on this "mission!" Yet stubbornly the so-called Prophet disobeyed ... until finally God "allowed" it!

Today's Text is the first of Balaam's "curse Israel" Sermons. Three more remain, though we may not look at them all. (Our purpose is learning about the "parables" of the Bible, especially the "unusual" ones ... not learning about Balaam.")

It's obvious Balaam's "words" have been "commandeered" by the Lord! This "preacher-for-hire" man planned harm for Israel. God instead planned good! Here's the order from Heaven: "And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak ..."

So, today's "parable" is literally "inspired," powerfully so!

The audience is small, primarily consisting of Balaam's "employer," King of the Moabites (descendants of Lot through one of his daughters, his firstborn) ... a man named Balak. His name means "devastator." Plus, a few of Balak's "princes" heard these words too.

Here goes Balaam now. With his "parable," the first of over a hundred in God's Word. (The hermeneutical "Law of First Mention" applies!) By the way, the noun "parable" used here is "mashal" in Hebrew. It is translated "proverb" 19 times in the Bible and "parable" 18 times! It's termed "byword" once even! It is from the root verb that means "to rule!" Or "to have dominion, to reign!"

So yes, some of these little sayings do have authority! Are meant to guide our lives! Are truly the Word of God! "And he took up his parable, and said ...."

Said what, the local "color," the setting? "And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel."

Wow!

Listen now to Balaam's reply!

"How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?" This is Divine Intervention, folks! Balaam was "hired" to pronounce "doom" on the Jews, yet he is now saying he cannot do so!

Then the exact parable: "For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?" Ending with a desire of Balaam's, having seen the grand vista! "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!" Verses 9-10 of Numbers 23.

There she is, Israel! Oops, "him" in this Text! Two verbs, parallel in meaning, suggest Balaam has a terrific view! "See" (in Hebrew "raah") and "behold" (rare in the Bible, spelled "shur") both imply concentrated observation, accompanied with admiration it seems!

"To dwell alone," and "to not to be counted (reckoned) among the nations" ... means Israel is to be a separated people! Set apart unto God, unlike all the other peoples (tribes) of the world!

He (Israel) also is "innumerable!"

(Balak is outnumbered, it seems! There were more of THEM, of the Jews, than of the Moabites even!) "Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?"

Then the "parable" declares Israel "righteous!"

Seemingly Israel is given an attractiveness ... a magnetism ... to draw others to a godly lifestyle also! Even Balaam (who never did live godly after all) was prayerful, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!"

The future of Israel is, according to this parable, secure!

She will end up being "righteous!"

This would be pretty good "national policy" for the other nations of the earth, including Obama's America! "For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!"

This is Balaam's "parable."

More so God's, really.

Was Balak surprised? "And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether."

Yes, Israel is "special."

To the extent that even the Bible's initial "parable" is dedicated to her, to his preservation!

Amen.

                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

To read these Lessons ( a new one each morning) on the "Unusual Parables of the Bible" just visit right HERE on the Website. "Click" and read and enjoy!

And to read all twenty-five of the now completed "Lamentations" Lessons ... simply visit HERE on the Website. Or go to the bottom of the "Site Map" Page and access them there.

And to study any of our other Bible Expositions, visit the SITE MAP Page. There you will find over twelve years of Verse-by-Verse work. Generally speaking, the older lessons are nearer the top of the Page and the newer lessons closer to the bottom.

 

 

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