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May 16th, 2011 – Numbers 25

Click here to read Numbers 25 on BibleGateway.com

One of the most famous military anecdotes in all history is the story of the Trojan Horse. Without going into too much detail, the basic idea is that you should in fact look a gift horse in the mouth, particularly if it’s 90 ft high and sounds like it has a platoon of soldiers inside it. The warning, be it historically accurate or not, is to pay as much attention to what’s going on inside your walls as you do to the machinations outside.

1-800-DIAL-A-CURSE

The previous few chapters of Numbers have focused on the work of Balaam, a hired gun for Israel’s enemies. As Israel passed through various lands during their lengthy trek to the Promised Land, the kings of those lands freaked out at the rather large of number of strangers parking out in their driveways, and decided to call out Balaam, a shaman with the supposed powers to curse people. As the previous couple days have shown, his efforts were less than awesome, and it looks like Balaam may actually be a convert.

However, notice that the next chapter involves men being men, and they started indulging in various dalliances with foreign women, including sexual immorality and worshiping foreign gods. In fact, one man took a woman to his tent under the eyes of Moses and the leaders. (Go ahead and read the story to see what one of the leaders did to the offenders). Long story short, God sends a plague to remind the Israelites that he values purity, and we can hope that the Israelites get the message.

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED

Jump ahead to Chapter 31. Guess who’s behind this seduction of the Israelite men. Good ole Balaam. When he couldn’t get his way by frontal attack, he shifts to a sneaky way of undermining the Israelites (and succeeds, unfortunately).

We spend a lot of time in the modern church discussing “the attacks of the enemy,” and how Satan wants to destroy us. This is true, but let’s not forget that attacks don’t always come from the front. No attack of the enemy does the damage that our own sin and weaknesses can do. When we think back on some of the high-profile failures of our life, public and private, how many were caused by direct spiritual attack? How many were caused by our own failure to keep our eyes focused on God, and instead allowed our attention to wander to things that sparkle and shine?

Today, ask God to show you where the enemy may be attacking you, but don’t be surprised if it’s closer to home than you may like. Sometimes we can see the enemy’s best weapon by simply looking in a mirror.

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