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Thoughts and Reflection

In today’s reading Balak continues his attempt to convince Balaam to curse the people of Israel but this didn’t go as planned. Church leaders do not believe balaam to be an honerable man. He is a man for hire and at the end he does what God wants. God initially used a donkey to speak to Balaam, and he, in turn, will use a greater “donkey” to speak his words and bless his people — Balaam.

In Deuteronomy today we see various laws from the Lord. Even though the laws may seem unnecessary, they will be needed at some point. One interesting one is that Oxen must not be muzzled while they work. This is to show kindnessd to animals.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Numbers 23

1 Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here and prepare me seven bulls and seven rams.’

2 Balak did as Balaam said and offered a burnt offering of one bull and one ram on each altar.

3 Balaam then said to Balak, ‘Stand beside your burnt offerings while I go away. Perhaps Yahweh will come and meet me. If he does, I shall tell you whatever he reveals to me.’ And he withdrew to a bare hill.

4 God came to meet Balaam, who said to him, ‘I have prepared the seven altars and offered a burnt offering of one bull and one ram on each altar.’

5 Yahweh then put a prophecy into his mouth and said to him, ‘Go back to Balak, and that is what you must say to him.’

6 So Balaam went back to him, and found him still standing beside his burnt offering, with all the chiefs of Moab.

7 He then declaimed his poem as follows: Balak has brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the hills of Kedem: ‘Come and curse Jacob for me, come and denounce Israel!’

8 How shall I curse someone whom God has not cursed, how denounce someone God has not denounced?

9 Yes, from the top of the crags I see him, from the hills I descry him: a people that dwells on its own, not to be reckoned among other nations!

10 Who can count the dust of Jacob? Who can number the cloud of Israel? May I die the death of the just, and may my future be like theirs!

11 Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, and you have heaped blessings on them!’

12 Balaam replied, ‘Am I to depart from what Yahweh puts into my mouth?’

13 Balak then said, ‘Please come somewhere else. From here you can see only the fringe of them, you cannot see them all. Curse them for me over there.’

14 He led him to the Lookouts’ Field on the top of Pisgah. There he built seven altars and offered a burnt offering of one bull and one ram on each altar.

15 Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stand here beside your burnt offerings while I wait over there.’

16 God came to meet Balaam, he put a prophecy into his mouth and said to him, ‘Go back to Balak, and that is what you must say to him.’

17 So Balaam went to him and found him still standing beside his burnt offering and all the chiefs of Moab with him. ‘What did Yahwehsay?’ Balak said to him.

18 Balaam then declaimed his poem, as follows: Stand up, Balak, and listen, give ear to me, son of Zippor.

19 God is no human being that he should lie, no child of Adam to change his mind. Is it his to say and not to do, is it his to speak and not fulfil?

20 The charge laid on me is to bless, I shall bless, and I cannot reverse it.

21 I have perceived no guilt in Jacob, have seen no perversity in Israel. Yahweh his God is with him, and a royal acclamation to greet him.

22 God has brought him out of Egypt, is like the wild ox’s horns to him.

23 There is no omen whatever against Jacob, no augury at all against Israel. Well may people say of Jacob, of Israel, ‘What has Godachieved?’

24 for here is a people like a lioness rising, poised like a lion to spring; nor will he lie down till he has devoured his prey and drunk the blood of his slain.

25 Balak said to Balaam, ‘Very well! Do not curse them. But at least do not bless them!’

26 Balaam retorted to Balak, ‘Did I not tell you? Whatever Yahweh says, I must do.’

27 Balak then said to Balaam, ‘Come with me now and I shall take you somewhere else. From there perhaps it will please God to curse them for me.’

28 So Balak led Balaam to the summit of Peor, overlooking the wastelands.

29 Balaam then said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here and prepare me seven bulls and seven rams.’

30 Balak did as Balaam said and offered a burnt offering of one bull and one ram on each altar.

Deuteronomy 24

1 ‘Suppose a man has taken a wife and consummated the marriage; but she has not pleased him and he has found some impropriety of which to accuse her; he has therefore made out a writ of divorce for her and handed it to her and then dismissed her from his house;

2 she leaves his home and goes away to become the wife of another man.

3 Then suppose this second man who has married her takes a dislike to her and makes out a writ of divorce for her and hands it to her and dismisses her from his house or if this other man who took her as his wife dies,

4 her first husband, who has repudiated her, may not take her back as his wife now that she has been made unclean in this way. For that is detestable in Yahweh’s eyes and you must not bring guilt on the country which Yahweh your God is giving you as your heritage.

5 ‘If a man is newly married, he must not join the army, nor must he be pestered at home; he must be left at home, free of all obligations for one year, to make his new wife happy.

6 ‘No one may take a mill or a millstone in pledge; that would be to take life itself in pledge.

7 ‘If anyone is caught, having kidnapped one of his brother-Israelites, whether he makes him his slave or sells him, that thief must die. You must banish this evil from among you.

8 ‘In a case of a virulent skin-disease, take care you faithfully observe and exactly carry out everything that the levitical priests direct you to do. You must keep and observe everything that I have commanded them.

9 Remember what Yahweh your God did to Miriam when you were on your way out of Egypt.

10 ‘If you are making your brother a loan on pledge, you must not go into his house and seize the pledge, whatever it may be.

11 You must stay outside, and the man to whom you are making the loan must bring the pledge out to you.

12 And if the man is poor, you must not go to bed with his pledge in your possession;

13 you must return it to him at sunset so that he can sleep in his cloak and bless you; and it will be an upright action on your part in God’s view.

14 ‘You must not exploit a poor and needy wage-earner, be he one of your brothers or a foreigner resident in your community.

15 You must pay him his wages each day, not allowing the sun to set before you do, since he, being poor, needs them badly; otherwise he may appeal to Yahweh against you, and you would incur guilt.

16 ‘Parents may not be put to death for their children, nor children for parents, but each must be put to death for his own crime.

17 ‘You must not infringe the rights of the foreigner or the orphan; you must not take a widow’s clothes in pledge.

18 Remember that you were once a slave in Egypt and that Yahweh your God redeemed you from that. That is why I am giving you this order.

19 ‘If, when reaping the harvest in your field, you overlook a sheaf in that field, do not go back for it. The foreigner, the orphan and the widow shall have it, so that Yahweh your God may bless you in all your undertakings.

20 ‘When you beat your olive tree, you must not go over the branches twice. The foreigner, the orphan and the widow shall have the rest.

21 ‘When you harvest your vineyard, you must not pick it over a second time. The foreigner, the orphan and the widow shall have the rest.

22 ‘Remember that you were once a slave in Egypt. That is why I am giving you this order.’

Deuteronomy 25

1 ‘If people fall out, they must go to court for judgement; the judges must declare the one who is right to be in the right, the one who is wrong to be in the wrong.

2 If the one who is in the wrong deserves a flogging, the judge must have him laid on the ground and flogged in his presence, the number of strokes proportionate to his offence.

3 He may impose forty strokes but no more; otherwise, by the infliction of more, serious injury may be caused and your brother be humiliated before you.

4 ‘You must not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the corn.

5 ‘If brothers live together and one of them dies childless, the dead man’s wife may not marry a stranger outside the family. Her husband’s brother must come to her and, exercising his duty as brother, make her his wife,

6 and the first son she bears must assume the dead brother’s name; by this means his name will not be obliterated from Israel.

7 But if the man declines to take his brother’s wife, she must go to the elders at the gate and say, “I have no brother-in-law willing to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he declines to exercise his duty as brother in my favour.”

8 The elders of the town must summon the man and talk to him. If, on appearing before them, he says, “I refuse to take her,”

9 then the woman to whom he owes duty as brother must go up to him in the presence of the elders, take the sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and pronounce the following words, “This is what is done to the man who refuses to restore his brother’s house,”

10 and his family must henceforth be known in Israel as House of the Unshod.

11 ‘If, when two men are fighting, the wife of one intervenes to protect her husband from the other’s blows by reaching out and seizing the other by his private parts,

12 you must cut off her hand and show no pity.

13 ‘You must not keep two different weights in your bag, one heavy, one light.

14 You must not keep two different measures in your house, one large, one small.

15 You must keep one weight, full and accurate, so that you may have long life in the country given you by Yahweh your God.

16 For anyone who does things of this kind and acts dishonestly is detestable to Yahweh your God.

17 ‘Remember how Amalek treated you when you were on your way out of Egypt.

18 He met you on your way and, after you had gone by, he fell on you from the rear and cut off the stragglers; when you were faint and weary, he had no fear of God.

19 When Yahweh your God has granted you peace from all the enemies surrounding you, in the country given you by Yahweh your Godto own as your heritage, you must blot out the memory of Amalek under heaven. Do not forget.’

Psalm 106

1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, his faithful love is everlasting!

2 Who can recount all Yahweh’s triumphs, who can fully voice his praise?

3 How blessed are those who keep to what is just, whose conduct is always upright!

4 Remember me, Yahweh, in your love for your people. Come near to me with your saving power,

5 let me share the happiness of your chosen ones, let me share the joy of your people, the pride of your heritage.

6 Like our ancestors, we have sinned, we have acted wickedly, guiltily;

7 our ancestors in Egypt never grasped the meaning of your wonders. They did not bear in mind your countless acts of love, at the Sea of Reeds they defied the Most High;

8 but for the sake of his name he saved them, to make known his mighty power.

9 At his rebuke the Sea of Reeds dried up, he let them pass through the deep as though it were desert,

10 so he saved them from their opponents’ clutches, rescued them from the clutches of their enemies.

11 The waters enveloped their enemies, not one of whom was left.

12 Then they believed what he had said, and sang his praises.

13 But they soon forgot his achievements, they did not even wait for his plans;

14 they were overwhelmed with greed in the wastelands, in the solitary wastes they challenged God.

15 He gave them all they asked for, but struck them with a deep wasting sickness;

16 in the camp they grew jealous of Moses, and of Aaron, Yahweh’s holy one.

17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, closed in on Abiram’s faction;

18 fire flamed out against their faction, the renegades were engulfed in flames.

19 At Horeb they made a calf, bowed low before cast metal;

20 they exchanged their glory for the image of a grass-eating bull.

21 They forgot the God who was saving them, who had done great deeds in Egypt,

22 such wonders in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Sea of Reeds.

23 He thought of putting an end to them, had not Moses, his chosen one, taken a stand in the breach and confronted him, to turn his anger away from destroying them.

24 They counted a desirable land for nothing, they put no trust in his promise;

25 they stayed in their tents and grumbled, they would not listen to Yahweh’s voice.

26 So he lifted his hand against them, to strike them down in the desert,

27 to strike down their descendants among the nations, to scatter them all over the world.

28 They committed themselves to serve Baal-Peor, and ate sacrifices made to lifeless gods.

29 They so provoked him by their actions that a plague broke out among them.

30 Then up stood Phinehas to intervene, and the plague was checked;

31 for this he is the example of uprightness, from age to age for ever.

32 At the waters of Meribah they so angered Yahweh, that Moses suffered on their account,

33 for they had embittered his spirit, and he spoke without due thought.

34 They did not destroy the nations, as Yahweh had told them to do,

35 but intermarried with them, and adopted their ways.

36 They worshipped those nations’ false gods, till they found themselves entrapped,

37 and sacrificed their own sons and their daughters to demons.

38 Innocent blood they shed, the blood of their sons and daughters; offering them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the country with blood.

39 They defiled themselves by such actions, their behaviour was that of a harlot.

40 Yahweh’s anger blazed out at his people, his own heritage filled him with disgust.

41 He handed them over to the nations, and their opponents became their masters;

42 their enemies lorded it over them, crushing them under their rule.

43 Time and again he rescued them, but they still defied him deliberately, and sank ever deeper in their guilt;

44 even so he took pity on their distress, as soon as he heard them cry out.

45 Bearing his covenant with them in mind, he relented in his boundless and faithful love;

46 he ensured that they received compassion, in their treatment by all their captors.

47 Save us, Yahweh our God, gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and may glory in praising you.

48 Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, from all eternity and for ever! Let all the people say, ‘Amen’.

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