Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 39

Numbers 20–23, 1 Corinthians 5–6

Bible text(s)

Events at Kadesh

(Ex 17.1–7)

1In the first month the whole community of Israel came to the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

2There was no water where they camped, so the people gathered round Moses and Aaron 3and complained: “It would have been better if we had died in front of the LORD's Tent along with our fellow-Israelites. 4Why have you brought us out into this wilderness? Just so that we can die here with our animals? 5Why did you bring us out of Egypt into this miserable place where nothing will grow? There's no corn, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates. There is not even any water to drink!” 6Moses and Aaron moved away from the people and stood at the entrance of the Tent. They bowed down with their faces to the ground, and the dazzling light of the LORD's presence appeared to them.

7The LORD said to Moses, 8“Take the stick that is in front of the Covenant Box, and then you and Aaron assemble the whole community. There in front of them all speak to that rock over there, and water will gush out of it. In this way you will bring water out of the rock for the people, for them and their animals to drink.” 9Moses went and got the stick, as the LORD had commanded.

10He and Aaron assembled the whole community in front of the rock, and Moses said, “Listen, you rebels! Do we have to get water out of this rock for you?” 11Then Moses raised the stick and struck the rock twice with it, and a great stream of water gushed out, and all the people and animals drank.

12But the LORD reprimanded Moses and Aaron. He said, “Because you did not have enough faith to acknowledge my holy power before the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land that I promised to give them.”

13This happened at Meribah, where the people of Israel complained against the LORD and where he showed them that he was holy.

The King of Edom Refuses to Let Israel Pass

14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. They said, “This message is from your kinsmen, the tribes of Israel. You know the hardships we have suffered, 15how our ancestors went to Egypt, where we lived many years. The Egyptians ill-treated our ancestors and us, 16and we cried to the LORD for help. He heard our cry and sent an angel, who led us out of Egypt. Now we are at Kadesh, a town at the border of your territory. 17Please permit us to pass through your land. We and our cattle will not leave the road or go into your fields or vineyards, and we will not drink from your wells. We will stay on the main road until we are out of your territory.”

18But the Edomites answered, “We refuse to let you pass through our country! If you try, we will march out and attack you.”

19The people of Israel said, “We will stay on the main road, and if we or our animals drink any of your water, we will pay for it — all we want is to pass through.”

20The Edomites repeated, “We refuse!” and they marched out with a powerful army to attack the people of Israel. 21Because the Edomites would not let the Israelites pass through their territory, the Israelites turned and went another way.

The Death of Aaron

22The whole community of Israel left Kadesh and arrived at Mount Hor, 23on the border of Edom. There the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Aaron is not going to enter the land which I promised to give to Israel; he is going to die, because the two of you rebelled against my command at Meribah. 25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar up Mount Hor, 26and there remove Aaron's priestly robes and put them on Eleazar. Aaron is going to die there.” 27Moses did what the LORD had commanded. They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community, 28and Moses removed Aaron's priestly robes and put them on Eleazar. There on the top of the mountain Aaron died, and Moses and Eleazar came back down. 29The whole community learnt that Aaron had died, and they all mourned for him for thirty days.

Numbers 20GNBOpen in Bible reader

Victory over the Canaanites

1When the Canaanite king of Arad in the southern part of Canaan heard that the Israelites were coming by way of Atharim, he attacked them and captured some of them. 2Then the Israelites made a vow to the LORD: “If you will let us conquer these people, we will unconditionally dedicate them and their cities to you and will destroy them.” 3The LORD heard them and helped them to conquer the Canaanites. So the Israelites completely destroyed them and their cities, and named the place Hormah.

The Snake Made of Bronze

4The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road that leads to the Gulf of Aqaba, in order to go round the territory of Edom. But on the way the people lost their patience 5and spoke against God and Moses. They complained, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We can't stand any more of this miserable food!” 6Then the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many Israelites were bitten and died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Now pray to the LORD to take these snakes away.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8Then the LORD told Moses to make a metal snake and put it on a pole, so that anyone who was bitten could look at it and be healed. 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who had been bitten would look at the bronze snake and be healed.

From Mount Hor to the Valley of the Moabites

10The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth. 11After leaving that place, they camped at the ruins of Abarim in the wilderness east of Moabite territory. 12Then they camped in the Valley of Zered. 13From there they moved again and camped on the north side of the River Arnon, in the wilderness which extends into Amorite territory. (The Arnon was the border between the Moabites and the Amorites.) 14That is why The Book of the LORD's Battles speaks of “…the town of Waheb in the area of Suphah, and the valleys; the River Arnon, 15and the slope of the valleys that extend to the town of Ar and towards the border of Moab.”

16From there they went on to a place called Wells, where the LORD said to Moses, “Bring the people together, and I will give them water.” 17At that time the people of Israel sang this song:

“Wells, produce your water;

And we will greet it with a song —

18The well dug by princes

And by leaders of the people,

Dug with a royal sceptre

And with their sticks.”

They moved from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19and from there they went on to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley in the territory of the Moabites, below the top of Mount Pisgah, looking out over the desert.

Victory over King Sihon and King Og

(Deut 2.26—3.11)

21Then the people of Israel sent messengers to the Amorite king Sihon to say: 22“Let us pass through your land. We and our cattle will not leave the road and go into your fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from your wells; we will stay on the main road until we are out of your territory.” 23But Sihon would not permit the people of Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered his army and went out to Jahaz in the wilderness and attacked the Israelites. 24But the Israelites killed many of the enemy in battle and occupied their land from the River Arnon north to the Jabbok, that is, to the Ammonites, because the Ammonite border was strongly defended. 25So the people of Israel captured all the Amorite cities, including Heshbon and all the surrounding towns, and settled in them. 26Heshbon was the capital city of the Amorite king Sihon, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had captured all his land as far as the River Arnon. 27That is why the poets sing,

“Come to Heshbon, to King Sihon's city!

We want to see it rebuilt and restored.

28Once from this city of Heshbon

Sihon's army went forth like a fire;

It destroyed the city of Ar in Moab

And devoured the hills of the upper Arnon.

29How terrible for you, people of Moab!

You worshippers of Chemosh are brought to ruin!

Your god let the men become refugees,

And the women became captives of the Amorite king.

30But now their descendants are destroyed,

All the way from Heshbon to Dibon,

From Nashim to Nophah, near Medeba.”

31So the people of Israel settled in the territory of the Amorites, 32and Moses sent men to find the best way to attack the city of Jazer. The Israelites captured it and its surrounding towns and drove out the Amorites living there.

33Then the Israelites turned and took the road to Bashan, and King Og of Bashan marched out with his army to attack them at Edrei. 34The LORD said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him. I will give you victory over him, all his people, and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon, the Amorite king who ruled at Heshbon.” 35So the Israelites killed Og, his sons, and all his people, leaving no survivors, and then they occupied his land.

Numbers 21GNBOpen in Bible reader

The King of Moab Sends for Balaam

1The Israelites moved on and set up camp in the plains of Moab east of the Jordan and opposite Jericho.

2When the king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, heard what the Israelites had done to the Amorites and how many Israelites there were, 3he and all his people became terrified. 4The Moabites said to the leaders of the Midianites, “This horde will soon destroy everything round us, like a bull eating the grass in a pasture.” So King Balak 5sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor near the River Euphrates in the land of Amaw. They brought him this message from Balak: “I want you to know that a whole nation has come from Egypt; its people are spreading out everywhere and threatening to take over our land. 6They outnumber us, so please come and put a curse on them for me. Then perhaps we will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. I know that when you pronounce a blessing, people are blessed, and when you pronounce a curse, they are placed under a curse.”

7So the Moabite and Midianite leaders took with them the payment for the curse, went to Balaam, and gave him Balak's message. 8Balaam said to them, “Spend the night here, and tomorrow I will report to you whatever the LORD tells me.” So the Moabite leaders stayed with Balaam.

9God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men that are staying with you?”

10He answered, “King Balak of Moab has sent them to tell me 11that a people who came from Egypt has spread out over the whole land. He wants me to curse them for him, so that he can fight them and drive them out.”

12God said to Balaam, “Do not go with these men, and do not put a curse on the people of Israel, because they have my blessing.”

13The next morning Balaam went to Balak's messengers and said, “Go back home; the LORD has refused to let me go with you.” 14So they returned to Balak and told him that Balaam had refused to come with them.

15Then Balak sent a larger number of leaders, who were more important than the first. 16They went to Balaam and gave him this message from Balak: “Please don't let anything prevent you from coming to me! 17I will reward you richly and do anything you say. Please come and curse these people for me.”

18But Balaam answered, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not disobey the command of the LORD my God in even the smallest matter. 19But please stay the night, as the others did, so that I may learn whether or not the LORD has something else to tell me.”

20That night God came to Balaam and said, “If these men have come to ask you to go with them, get ready to go, but do only what I tell you.” 21So the next morning Balaam saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite leaders.

Balaam and his Donkey

22God was angry that Balaam was going, and as Balaam was riding along on his donkey, accompanied by his two servants, the angel of the LORD stood in the road to bar his way. 23When the donkey saw the angel standing there holding a sword, it left the road and turned into the fields. Balaam beat the donkey and brought it back on to the road. 24Then the angel stood where the road narrowed between two vineyards and had a stone wall on each side. 25When the donkey saw the angel, it moved over against the wall and crushed Balaam's foot against it. Again Balaam beat the donkey. 26Once more the angel moved ahead; he stood in a narrow place where there was no room at all to pass on either side. 27This time, when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down. Balaam lost his temper and began to beat the donkey with his stick. 28Then the LORD gave the donkey the power of speech, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you? Why have you beaten me these three times?”

29Balaam answered, “Because you have made a fool of me! If I had a sword, I would kill you.”

30The donkey replied, “Am I not the same donkey on which you have ridden all your life? Have I ever treated you like this before?”

“No,” he answered.

31Then the LORD let Balaam see the angel standing there with his sword; and Balaam threw himself face downwards on the ground. 32The angel demanded, “Why have you beaten your donkey three times like this? I have come to bar your way, because you should not be making this journey. 33But your donkey saw me and turned aside three times. If it hadn't, I would have killed you and spared the donkey.”

34Balaam replied, “I have sinned. I did not know that you were standing in the road to oppose me; but now if you think it is wrong for me to go on, I will return home.”

35But the angel said, “Go on with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with them.

Balak Welcomes Balaam

36When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went to meet him at Ar, a city on the River Arnon at the border of Moab. 37Balak said to him, “Why didn't you come when I sent for you the first time? Did you think I wasn't able to reward you enough?”

38Balaam answered, “I came, didn't I? But now, what power have I got? I can say only what God tells me to say.” 39So Balaam went with Balak to the town of Huzoth, 40where Balak slaughtered cattle and sheep and gave some of the meat to Balaam and the leaders who were with him.

Balaam's First Prophecy

41Next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal, from where Balaam could see a part of the people of Israel.

Numbers 22GNBOpen in Bible reader
1He said to Balak, “Build seven altars here for me, and bring me seven bulls and seven rams.”

2Balak did as he was told, and he and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering, while I go to see whether or not the LORD will meet me. I will tell you whatever he reveals to me.” So he went alone to the top of a hill, 4and God met him. Balaam said to him, “I have built the seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each.”

5The LORD told Balaam what to say and sent him back to Balak to give him his message. 6So he went back and found Balak still standing by his burnt offering, with all the leaders of Moab.

7Balaam uttered this prophecy:

“Balak king of Moab has brought me

From Syria, from the eastern mountains.

‘Come and speak for me,’ he said.

‘Put a curse on the people of Israel.’

8How can I curse what God has not cursed,

Or speak of doom when the LORD has not?

9From the high rocks I can see them;

I can watch them from the hills.

They are a nation that lives alone;

They know they are blessed more than other nations.

10The descendants of Israel are like the dust —

There are too many of them to be counted.

Let me end my days like one of God's people;

Let me die in peace like the righteous.”

11Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but all you have done is bless them.”

12He answered, “I can say only what the LORD tells me to say.”

Balaam's Second Prophecy

13Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come with me to another place from which you can see only some of the Israelites. Curse them for me from there.” 14He took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Mount Pisgah. There also he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each of them.

15Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering, and I will meet God over there.”

16The LORD met Balaam, told him what to say, and sent him back to Balak to give him his message. 17So he went back and found Balak still standing by his burnt offering, with the leaders of Moab. Balak asked what the LORD had said, 18and Balaam uttered this prophecy:

“Come, Balak son of Zippor,

And listen to what I have to say.

19God is not like men, who lie;

He is not a human who changes his mind.

Whatever he promises, he does;

He speaks, and it is done.

20I have been instructed to bless,

And when God blesses, I cannot call it back.

21I foresee that Israel's future

Will bring her no misfortune or trouble.

The LORD their God is with them;

They proclaim that he is their king.

22God has brought them out of Egypt;

He fights for them like a wild ox.

23There is no magic charm, no witchcraft,

That can be used against the nation of Israel.

Now people will say about Israel,

‘Look what God has done!’

24The nation of Israel is like a mighty lion:

It doesn't rest until it has torn and devoured,

Until it has drunk the blood of those it has killed.”

25Then Balak said to Balaam, “You refuse to curse the people of Israel, but at least don't bless them!”

26Balaam answered, “Didn't I tell you that I had to do everything that the LORD told me?”

Balaam's Third Prophecy

27Balak said, “Come with me, and I will take you to another place. Perhaps God will be willing to let you curse them for me from there.” 28So he took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor overlooking the desert. 29Balaam said to him, “Build seven altars for me here and bring me seven bulls and seven rams.” 30Balak did as he was told, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Numbers 23GNBOpen in Bible reader

Immorality in the Church

1Now, it is actually being said that there is sexual immorality among you so terrible that not even the heathen would be guilty of it. I am told that a man is sleeping with his stepmother! 2How, then, can you be proud? On the contrary, you should be filled with sadness, and the man who has done such a thing should be expelled from your fellowship. 3-4And even though I am far away from you in body, still I am there with you in spirit; and as though I were there with you, I have in the name of our Lord Jesus already passed judgement on the man who has done this terrible thing. As you meet together, and I meet with you in my spirit, by the power of our Lord Jesus present with us, 5you are to hand this man over to Satan for his body to be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.

6It is not right for you to be proud! You know the saying, “A little bit of yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.” 7You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure. Then you will be like a new batch of dough without any yeast, as indeed I know you actually are. For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us celebrate our Passover, then, not with bread having the old yeast of sin and wickedness, but with the bread that has no yeast, the bread of purity and truth.

9In the letter that I wrote you I told you not to associate with immoral people. 10Now I did not mean pagans who are immoral or greedy or are thieves or who worship idols. To avoid them you would have to get out of the world completely. 11What I meant was that you should not associate with a person who calls himself a believer but is immoral or greedy or worships idols or is a slanderer or a drunkard or a thief. Don't even sit down to eat with such a person.

12-13After all, it is none of my business to judge outsiders. God will judge them. But should you not judge the members of your own fellowship? As the scripture says, “Remove the evil person from your group.”

1 Corinthians 5GNBOpen in Bible reader

Lawsuits against Fellow-Christians

1If any of you have a dispute with another Christian, how dare you go before heathen judges instead of letting God's people settle the matter? 2Don't you know that God's people will judge the world? Well, then, if you are to judge the world, aren't you capable of judging small matters? 3Do you not know that we shall judge the angels? How much more, then, the things of this life! 4If such matters come up, are you going to take them to be settled by people who have no standing in the church? 5Shame on you! Surely there is at least one wise person in your fellowship who can settle a dispute between fellow-Christians. 6Instead, one Christian goes to court against another and lets unbelievers judge the case!

7The very fact that you have legal disputes among yourselves shows that you have failed completely. Would it not be better for you to be wronged? Would it not be better for you to be robbed? 8Instead, you yourselves wrong one another and rob one another, even your own brothers and sisters! 9Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God's Kingdom. Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts 10or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves — none of these will possess God's Kingdom. 11Some of you were like that. But you have been purified from sin; you have been dedicated to God; you have been put right with God by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Use your Bodies for God's Glory

12Someone will say, “I am allowed to do anything.” Yes; but not everything is good for you. I could say that I am allowed to do anything, but I am not going to let anything make me its slave. 13Someone else will say, “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.” Yes; but God will put an end to both. The body is not to be used for sexual immorality, but to serve the Lord; and the Lord provides for the body. 14God raised the Lord from death, and he will also raise us by his power.

15You know that your bodies are parts of the body of Christ. Shall I take a part of Christ's body and make it part of the body of a prostitute? Impossible! 16Or perhaps you don't know that the man who joins his body to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? The scripture says quite plainly, “The two will become one body.” 17But he who joins himself to the Lord becomes spiritually one with him.

18Avoid immorality. Any other sin a man commits does not affect his body; but the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; 20he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God's glory.

1 Corinthians 6GNBOpen in Bible reader
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