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Chinese6/3/2005English
經文:民數記廿四至廿五章
鑰節:「……我將我平安的約賜給他……因他為上帝有忌邪的心,為以色列人贖罪。」(25:12~13)
提要

        巴勒第三次,也是最後一次力圖促使巴蘭咒詛以色列。他再度將巴蘭帶到另一處地方,期望巴蘭在那媟|有不同的表現,能夠咒詛以色列人。他們也三度在七個祭壇上獻祭,但我們知道,巴蘭「不像前兩次去求法術」(24:1)──他知道那對以色列人無效。

        古代的術士會從獻給神的祭牲肝臟上尋求徵兆。但以色列的獨一真神上帝絕不會藉這種可憎的習俗來啟示祂自己;祂的靈乃是降在巴蘭身上,以他為器皿說出上帝的真言。這絕不是聖靈充滿,因為聖靈在他身上只是暫時的;上帝的靈只是臨到他,而不是住在他堶情A如同住在真正屬上帝之人的心中那樣(27:18)。巴蘭忠於他為任何神作代言人的呼召,他的確按著上帝指示他的話來說。當然,由於有天使強烈的警告在先,他也不敢憑己意說什麼。然而,他的心態和動機不對;雖然他沒能咒詛以色列,因此沒有從巴勒得「尊榮」(也就是有形的財物,24:11),但他似乎想以其他的方式使他這趟長途旅行值回票價。

        巴蘭第三次題起詩歌又是對以色列人大加祝福,使得巴勒大為不悅。在這首詩歌中,巴蘭描寫以色列的榮美,他們將有的崇高地位和勝利,最後並重複上帝對亞伯拉罕的應許(24:9;參創12:3),巴勒忍無可忍,終於在極度的憤怒中將巴蘭解雇,一毛錢也沒給他(24:11),但巴蘭的話還沒說完呢!最美麗的詩歌還在後頭。巴蘭的每一首詩歌都帶出更高的啟示,第四首詩是截至當時聖經對彌賽亞最完全的啟示:「有星要出於雅各,有杖要興於以色列……有一位出於雅各的必掌大權」(24:17~19;參啟22:16;創49:10)。巴蘭還繼續預言了將臨到那些想看見以色列遭咒詛的國家的災難(24:20~22)。

        雖然聖經沒有詳述巴蘭的故事,但我們可以從後來提到他的經文推測,他並沒有在第四次題起詩歌後立刻啟程返鄉(24:25,31:8),而是留在米甸人中間,並且提供他們可以導致以色列人滅亡的方法:引誘以色列人拜偶像,行姦淫的事(31:16;啟2:14)。巴蘭知道他不可能咒詛上帝所祝福的百姓,但他也知道以色列聖潔的上帝不能容忍罪。巴蘭的建議被米甸人採用,他們對付以色列的邪惡計謀也奏效了。不過米甸人後來因為他們引誘以色列人步上歧途的罪行而受罰(25:17~18;參卅一章)。

        在廿六章,我們讀到以色列人曠野經歷中的最後一次背叛和上帝的審判。事情發生於他們最後安營在約但河東,準備進入應許之地以前。撒但的計謀很詭詐,因為米甸人與以色列人之間的情誼比他們之間的衝突帶給以色列人更大的問題。以色列人破壞他們與上帝所立的約,屈服於米甸婦人的引誘,隨從她們拜偶像、行姦淫。那些帶頭行惡的以色列人被殺示眾,以警戒其他人犯罪的結果。還有許多以色列人在上帝所降的瘟疫中喪生。要不是勇敢、有神聖熱衷的非尼哈阻止了上帝的怒氣(25:7~8、11;詩106:28~32),恐怕所有的以色列人都會被瘟疫所滅。非尼哈的行動看來也震醒了百姓,使他們明瞭自己所陷的罪惡之深。可悲的是,在上帝這場審判中,最後共有二萬四千人喪生。上帝因非尼哈的信實而祝福、尊榮他(上帝尊榮那些尊榮祂的人;撒上2:30),並應許將「平安的約」賜給他,以色列的大祭司也要從他的家族(亞倫的譜系)而出。所有大祭司所象徵的皆是那位真實、最終的大祭司,耶穌基督,祂是上帝所應許的平安之約的應驗(來7:21~25)。

禱告

        主啊,當仇敵用計謀攻擊我們時,求您解救我們。保守我們脫離與世界和其罪惡道路妥協的陷阱。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Numbers 24 & 25
Key Verse:“… Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace… because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for… Israel.”(Numbers 25:12, 13 )
Overview

        Here we see the third and final desperate attempt of Balak to get Balaam to curse Israel. Once again, Balak took him to a different place in hopes that the place would make the difference and that from there Balaam would be able to curse them. For the third time they again sacrificed upon seven altars, but here we learn before – he knew it was of no avail.

        The ancient sorceress would seek for omens in the livers and organs of the animals that were offered to the gods (in this case Baal of Peor). The One and only true God of Israel would never reveal Himself through such an abomination; rather, His Spirit came upon Balaam who was but an instrument to speak His truth. This was by no means an infilling, for it was only temporary; God’s Spirit was only upon him but not within him, as He was with true men of God (27:18). Balaam was faithful in his calling to be spokesman for any deity, so He did speak truly the words God gave him. Surely, because of the angle’s strong warning, Balaam was afraid to do otherwise. Yet his heart and motivation were wrong, and through he could not curse Israel and thereby not receive “honor” from Balak (i.e. tangible honor, namely riches; 24:11), it seems he looked for another way to make his long journey worthwhile.

        Much to Balak’s displeasure, Balaam’s third oracle was yet another blessing, describing the beauty of Israel, their coming exaltation and victory, and finally repeating the promise God had given to Abraham (24:9; cf. Gen.12:3). For Balak, this was the last straw. In extreme anger, he fired Balaam without pay (24:11), but Balaam was not quite finished; the most beautiful oracle was yet to come. Each successive oracle had brought a higher revelation, and until this point in Scripture, the fourth oracle brought the fullest revelation of the Messiah: “A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel… Out of Jacob One shall have dominion” (24:17, 19; cf. Rev.22:16; Gen.49:10). Then Balaam continued to foretell the disaster that would befall those nations, which had disaster to see Israel cursed (24:20-22).

        Although the story is not told, we can imply from later references that Balaam did not depart for his home immediately after the fourth oracle (24:25; 31:8), but rather remained among the Midianites and suggested to them means whereby Israel could come to destruction: by leading them into idolatry and immorality (31:16; Rev.2:14). He knew it was impossible to curse that which God had blessed, but he also knew the Holy God of Israel would not tolerate sin. Balaam’s advice was followed and their evil scheme against Israel worked. However, Midian later suffered the penalty for their participation in the seduction of Israel (25:17-18; ch.31).

        We read here of the last rebellion and divine judgment of Israel during the wilderness experience. It was while they were at their final encampment on the eastern side of the Jordan river before entering the Promised Land. Satan’s schemes are deceptive, for Midian’s friendship and Israel’s compromise with them brought Israel greater problems than would a conflict. They broke the covenant with their God as they succumbed to the evil seduction of the Medianite women who led many astray into idolatry and fornication. Those Israelites who led the wickedness were killed and put on public display to warn others of the consequences of sin. Many others died by a plague sent by God which would have consumed them all if not for the brave, holy zeal of Phinehas which stopped God’s wrath (25:7-8, 11; Ps.106:28-32) and seemingly awakened the people to realize the depth of sin into which they had fallen. It is tragic that by the end of God’s judgment a total of 24,000 had died. God blessed and honored Phinehas because of his faithfulness (the Lord will honor those who honor Him, 1 Sam.2:30) and promised him His “covenant of peace:, and from his family (Aaron’s line was to come Israel’s high priests. The true and final High Priest, whom all the high priests symbolized, is Jesus Christ, who brought into fulfillment the promised covenant of peace (Heb.7:21-25).

Prayer

        O Lord, when the schemes of the enemy come against us, delivers us. Keep us from the trap of compromise with the world and its sinful ways.


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