Today’s reading: Num 22:1–41, 1 Cor 5:1–6:11, Ps 19:1–14
Today’s theme: Don’t be a donkey
The almost comical account of Balaam teaches us that we should not allow ourselves to be a stupid donkey who allows the enemy to ride on our backs and drive us against God and His purposes. Let’s examine ourselves and those in our own church community to ensure we are walking in the faith and not in the folly and destruction of the flesh and self deception.
The heart of Balaam
So you, too, please stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me.” Numbers 22:19 (ESV)
At first Balaam can seem to be righteous but little things like this in the story reveal his true heart and intentions. He sought to bargain with God to his own gain.
Balaam was certainly gifted and his oracles which we will read about later were inspired by God. He was however driven by selfish gain as mentioned in 2 Peter 2:15. Just because God used Balaam does not mean he was a true believer in God or in right standing with God.
Don’t be a donkey!
Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Numbers 22:28 (ESV)
There is an amazing parallel in the account of the talking donkey. The Donkey is a type of Balaam himself being driven by Balak to go in a way that is not right to curse Israel. They meet resistance from God himself represented by the angel and God opens the mouth of Balaam like He opened the mouth of the donkey to bless Israel. Balaam is just like the donkey.
We should beware of being driven by anything against God’s purpose. See Jude 11.
1 Corinthians 5:1–6:11
you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:5 (ESV)
Paul’s main concern is for the purity of the covenant community (the church) and secondly for the man’s own salvation. Handing the man over to Satan means he is to be shut out from fellowship as part of church discipline. This will leave the man vulnerable to demonic powers, which it is hoped will drive him to put his fleshy ways to death and truly repent.
Cheap forgiveness or easy grace would lead the man and the church into a dangerous place of permitting compromise and sin in its members. It would lead the self deceived man to be ultimately banished from God’s presence at the final judgment. Discipline and repentance are crucial for our lives and the life of the church.
We must judge ourselves (the church)
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV)
Just because someone says they are a Christian does not mean they are beyond judgement. In fact in brings us under greater scrutiny. Those who claim to be believers should be judged by the standard of God’s word in the community of true believers.
This certainly applies to those claiming to be leaders or who are in the public eye. We must boldly keep the body of Christ true and pure by judging ourselves.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on 1 Corinthians 5