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Balaam’s evil plan

But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! (Romans 13:13-14 – The Message)

While Israel was camped at Shittim (Acacia Grove), the men began to have sex with the Moabite women. It started when the women invited the men to their sex-and-religion worship. They ate together and then worshiped their gods. Israel ended up joining in the worship of the Baal of Peor. God was furious, his anger blazing out against Israel. (Numbers 25:1)

Balaam found he could not put a curse on the children of Israel, so he advised King Balak to pursue a different tactic. Rather than attempt a military solution or rely on occult manipulations, he introduced the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. Instead of going to battle with Israel, he advised Balak to invite them to dinner.

“Through the counsel of Balaam,” (Numbers 31:16 the daughters of the Moabites and Midianites went out to the men of Israel and invited them to a banquet. They were having a great sacrificial feast. There would be plenty of extra to eat. Why not share in the festivity? Using the lures of sexuality and the appetite, the women were able to seduce the men of Israel into participating in their idolatrous rituals.

The Apostle John warned us against “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16). The devil uses three temptations to trip up a man: sexual lust, greed for money or the love of power. He might use any combination of those three. The “lust of the flesh” is sexual lust, passion and lack of self-control, which manifests in sins like gluttony and sensuality. The “lust of the eyes” is covetousness, greed, ambition and materialism. The “boastful pride of life” is selfishness and haughtiness, which results in striving for position, abusing power and misusing people. The Apostle John says that these things are of the world and perishing with the world. “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life may indeed be passing away, but that does not diminish their current allure.

This is a common ploy on the devil’s part. If he can lure a believer into fellowship with worldly people and spark some romantic interest in an unbelieving member of the opposite sex, he can successfully snuff out the flame of faith.

The Apostle Peter warns us, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil does not have permission to harm us, but he can trick us into harming ourselves. When we succumb to the “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16), we do the devil’s work for him.

This can be compared to a man who had an enemy he hated. For a long time he schemed about how he might harm his enemy the most, but nothing seemed likely to work. One day he hit upon a brilliant plan. He hired a prostitute to seduce his enemy and then exposed the affair to the man’s family and friends. The man’s family left him, his friends ridiculed him, and his life was destroyed.

When the LORD saw that the men of Israel were consorting with the Midianite daughters and worshipping their gods, he punished Israel with a terrible plague. Twenty-four thousand men died, far more than the Moabites and Midianites could have hoped to slay on the field of battle. The plague against Israel was not stopped until Phinehas arose with his spear.

We need to show the ruthless zeal of Phinehas in our war against the lusts of our own flesh, lest we step into the devil’s snares. After all, the devil does not have the power to curse us, but we have the power to bring down curses on ourselves.

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#careful #Balak #beaware #dontloiter #Balaam #curse #lust

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