Day 72: The Plains of Moab

Numbers 24:10-25 Dismissed for his failure, Balaam offered a prophecy predicting the destruction of Moab, Edom, and other peoples in Israel’s path. A star shall come forth out of Jacob: The oracle foresaw THE COMING OF CHRIST, whose Birth was signaled by the STAR OF BETHLEHEM. This prophecy foreshadowed the arrival of the magi, wise men from the East, who recognized the signs of a newborn king and came from afar following the star leading to the infant Messiah. (CCC 528)

Ch 25:1-18 In time, many men of Israel were committing sins of lust with Gentile women and were subsequently being drawn into the worship of their idols. If an Israelite man would marry a Midianite woman, both parties would be slain; this measure was intended to remove idolatry thoroughly from among the Chosen People. The punishment for transgressing the First Commandment was severe as an effective measure of maintaining the purity of belief and morality amid such temptation. Sins against the First and Second Commandments were a recurring problem in ancient Israel, and for them sacrifices of atonement were officiated by the priests of the Old Covenant. (CCC 2110-2114)

Deuteronomy 26:1-15 The “land flowing with milk and honey” would produce abundant harvests, the first fruits of which were to be offered to God in thanksgiving. A “sacred portion'' from each year’s harvest was to be set aside and given to the needy and to the Levite priests every third year. This is one more indication of the priority that both divine worship and the poor have in the eyes of God. (CCC 2402, 2828-2830)

Psalm 107 Another hymn of thanksgiving extolling the steadfast love of God, this psalm uses images that point to events in Israel’s history but that are stated generally enough to apply figuratively to many other situations. Wandered in desert wastes: This allusion to the Israelite’s sojourn in the desert en route to the Promised Land describes aptly any person who searches for God or one whose aridity in prayer requires perseverance and fortitude. Some sat in darkness and gloom: This image is reminiscent of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt or exile in Assyria and Babylon. It also could describe any experience of despair, uncertainty, or powerlessness. Sick through sinful ways: This phrase indicates belief in the connection between sin and illness, but it can be applied equally to any instance of poor health or moral struggle. Illness often serves as a means to bring about conversion, a deeper spiritual life, and a greater reliance on God. He turns rivers into a desert: As God blessed the harvests in the Promised Land, so he provides every good thing that we need in due season. (CCC 231, 1502)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

The Star Out of Jacob 

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

“God if you need to convict me because I’m not doing this, you have my permission. And God, if I am doing this, and you want to console me in the sense of KEEP IT UP and YOU’RE DOING WELL, then you have my permission to console me. Whether to console or convict me, Lord God, you have my permission. Whatever I need, I will receive from your hand. Amen”

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, thank you so much for your Word. Thank you so much for your blessing. Thank you, God, that we know that we have enemies in this world. We have enemies in the natural world. We have enemies in the spiritual world. We have enemies in the supernatural world. And yet you are on our side. You fight for us. And yet while others may desire to curse us, Lord Jesus Christ, in your own name, you bless us. In your own name, by your own power, by your own goodness, by your own love for us, you utter a blessing over every one of us. And I ask you, Please Lord God, once again this day as we are listening to these words, send your Word of Blessing into our lives, into our hearts, into the people that we love, the people that we care about, the people that we have tried to help, but it seems like nothing helps. Oh God, speak your Word of Blessing over all of them and over all of us. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”