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February 9, 2023 - Numbers 31

Per God’s instructions, Moses commanded, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian” (31:3). Instigated by Balaam, the Midianites had seduced Israel into worshiping Baal at Peor (ch. 25). And, so, Israel killed every male among the Midianites, the kings of the Midianites, also Balaam. God had commanded Israel, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image . . . You shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Exodus 20:3-5). Idolatry is a heinous sin; it is so bad that many Israelites lost their lives because of it. Remembering how bad idolatry is, we must also be aware that all around us are those who would lead us away from God to false gods. We live in a fallen world that is opposed to God, and we must ever be watchful. Paul encourages, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). John tells us, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward” (2 John 1:7-8).

When Jesus comes to reward His servants,

Whether it be noon or night,

Faithful to Him will He find us watching,

With our lamps all trimmed and bright?

O can we say we are ready, brother?

Ready for the soul’s bright home?

Say, will He find you and me still watching,

Waiting, watching when the Lord shall come? --Fanny Crosby (1877)

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