Today’s reading: Num 24:1–25:18, 1 Cor 7:17–40, Ps 21:1–13
Today’s theme: Be faithful to God’s glory
We are called to be faithful in whatever way God has called us (circumcised or uncircumcised etc). Our faithfulness should be like Phinehas for God’s fame, honour, glory and holiness embodied in the glorious Messiah and King, Jesus.
God leads His people to victory
God brings him out of Egypt and is for him like the horns of the wild ox; he shall eat up the nations, his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces and pierce them through with his arrows. Numbers 24:8 (ESV)
The first two oracles of Balaam spoke of Gods unique covenant relationship with Israel. The last two are prophetic and point to Israel’s future kingdom and victory in the land of Canaan. God leads His people into victory just as Jesus always leads us in victory. See Romans 8:37, 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14 and 1 John 5:4.
Prophecy of the Messiah (Jesus)
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth. Numbers 24:17 (ESV)
Without really knowing it Balaam was prophesying about the Messiah which reminds us that the Bible was inspired by God. It is without error regardless of the tools God used to proclaim or record His word. The star and sceptre point to a future king and find their messianic fulfilment in Jesus.
Jesus’ birth is marked by the appearance of a star in Matthew 2:2 and in Revelation 22:16 Jesus is called the bright and morning star. The sceptre always spoke of authority and rule. In Genesis 49:9-10 Jacob said that the sceptre would never leave Judah, so the royal line from Judah would be eternal. This is also fulfilled by Jesus as the incarnate and risen king.
Have a passion for God’s glory and honour
“Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Numbers 25:11 (ESV)
We like Phinehas should have great zeal for the Lord to see His name honoured. Phinehas’ actions are a great example to us of the type of Spirit we should have in killing sin (in particular, compromise, rebellion and lust as seen earlier in the chapter) in honour of God’s holiness.
Jesus cleansed the temple in John 2:13-17 in fulfilment of Psalm 69:9 and we should be violent and ready to act in our spirit for the Lord’s glory too. See Matthew 11:12 and 2 Corinthians 9:3.
1 Corinthians 7:17–40
Stay faithful where you are
For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 1 Corinthians 7:19 (ESV)
Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant with Abraham and the laws given to Moses which have now been fulfilled and surpassed by Jesus.
The main point of this entire section is that when we are called to faith in Jesus we do not need to do anything externally like changing jobs, changing our marital status or cultural/ethnic identity (circumcision). God can use and often does use us in the situation in which He called us initially to reach those around us.
No matter what our situation is or how it changes we should be faithful in our devotion to the Lord.
Jesus, our glorious king
His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. Psalm 21:5–6 (ESV)
This glorious king finds its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus, the Messiah King. In Jesus we see this glory and majesty in John 13:31 and Revelation 5:12. The Joy spoken of in verse 6 is fulfilled in Him too, see Hebrews 12:2
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 Corinthians 7