Daily Encouragement

March 16 – The stars of Israel, and the Star of Israel

March 16
Numbers 24:1-25:18
Luke 2:1-35
Psalm 59:1-17
Proverbs 11:14

Numbers 24:17 – The Star out of Jacob.  Not the numberless stars prophesied of in Genesis 15:5, 22:17, 26:4, 37:9, Exodus 32:13, Deuteronomy 1:10, 10:22, 28:62, 1 Chronicles 27:23, Nehemiah 9:23, Hebrews 11:12. Not the star of the Remphan (Amos 5:26, Acts 7:43), the morning star (literal translation of the word Lucifer, Isaiah 14:12), Wormwood (Revelation 8:10), the falling star (Revelation 9:1),  the twelve stars of Israel (Revelation 12:1),  third part of the stars that fell from heaven (Revelation 12:4).

This is the one whose star was seen in the east (Matthew 2:2), the day star (2 Peter 1:19), the holder of stars (Revelation 1:16), the bright and morning star (Revelation 22:16).

Numbers 25:3 – What is Baal-peor?

The Baal (false god) of Peor (the mountain Balak brought Balaam to). Here’s the Jewish Encyclopedia report.

Name of a Canaanitish god. Peor was a mountain in Moab (Num. xxiii. 28), whence the special locality Beth-peor (Deut. iii. 29, etc.) was designated. It gave its name to the Ba’al who was there worshiped, and to whose service Israel, before the entrance into Canaan, was, for a brief time, attracted (Num. xxv. 3, 5; Ps. cvi. 28). The god is himself also called “Peor” by abbreviation (Num. xxxi. 16; Josh. xxii. 17). It is commonly held that this form of Ba’al-worship especially called for sensual indulgence. The context seems to favor his view, on account of the shameful licentiousness into which many of the Israelites were there enticed. But all Ba’al-worship encouraged this sin; and Peor may not have been worse than many other shrines in this respect, though the evil there was certainly flagrant. In Hosea ix. 10 “Baal-peor” is the same as “Beth-peor,” and is contracted from “Beth-baal-peor.”


By the way – who was behind enticing the Israelites into apostasy? Balaam. (Numbers 31:16)

Numbers 25:14 – Zimri was the name of an Israelite who sinned and God commended the exercise of the death penalty on, kinda like Ted Bundy. Nobody would name their kid Ted Bundy. But someone named their kid Zimri, and he became a chariot captain, and later King in Israel. I King 16:9-10.

Luke 2:8 – What was special about the shepherds’ field?

The shepherds’ fields outside Bethlehem, to this day, play a central role in the Christmas celebrations in the Holy Land. Countless tourists have visited the fields between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The church historian Eusebius linked these fields to a unique biblical location called Migdal Eder, which translated means the “tower of the flock”.

The first time Migdal Eder is mentioned in the Bible is in the account of Rachel, who died after giving birth to Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob. “Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder”, records Genesis 35:21.

This area on the outskirts of Bethlehem is also mentioned in the Talmudic writings. According to the Talmud, all cattle found in the area surrounding Jerusalem “as far as Migdal Eder” were deemed to be holy and consecrated and could only be used for sacrifices in the Temple, in particular for the peace and Passover sacrifices. There was thus a special, consecrated circle around the city of Jerusalem. – more at ICEJ.org

Luke 2:13-14 – George Frederic Handel’s Messiah captures this scene:

Luke 2:32 – The Light & Glory – was the Star of Jacob and the Sceptre of Israel!

Psalm 59:13 – This is a good example of an imprecatory Psalm. Do these violate the command to love your enemies? (Luke 6:27-29)

“It is important to recall the theological principles that underlie such psalms. These include: (1) the principle that vengeance belongs to God (Deut. 32:35Ps. 94:1) that excludes personal retaliation and necessitates appeal to God to punish the wicked (cp. Rom. 12:19); (2) the principle that God’s righteousness demands judgment on the wicked (Pss. 5:611:5–6); (3) the principle that God’s covenant love for the people of God necessitates intervention on their part (Pss. 5:759:1016–17); and (4) the principle of prayer that believers trust God with all their thoughts and desires.”1 (CARM.org)

Proverbs 11:14 – We’ll notice that many “business principles” are really “stolen Proverbs.” Why do Fortune 500 companies pay their board members over $200,000 per year? Because in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

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Daily Encouragement

March 15 – Many mouths are opened today!

March 15
Numbers 22:21-23:30
Luke 1:57-80
Psalm 58:1-11
Proverbs 11:12-13

Bileam und der Engel (4. Mose = Numeri 22-24)

Numbers 22:33 – In the Ministerial training program in Bible College, a guest preacher reminded us that if God can use Balaam’s donkey, He can use us!

Numbers 23:23 – “What hath God wrought” is the first message sent over the telegraph – the dawn of the first “Information Age!”

Luke 1:64 – A faithful donkey, an over-eager prophet, and a disbelieving priest – all three had their mouths touched by God today!

Luke 1:80 – Was John the Baptist raised by the Essenes? There is an interesting scholarly debate on this point.

Psalm 58:10-11 – The wicked will be avenged and the righteous shall be rewarded! Take heart –  the day of justice is coming!

Proverbs 11:12-13 – When in doubt, say nothing!

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Daily Encouragement

March 14 – The Serpent in the Wilderness

March 14
Numbers 21:1-22:20
Luke 1:26-56
Psalm 57:1-11
Proverbs 11:9-11

Numbers 21:2, 5 – Good thing that we’re never as fickle as the Israelites! We’ve never seen God deliver us from our enemies, restore our prisoners, and then get discouraged?

Numbers 21:8 – The serpent was in existence for 800 years until 2 Kings 18:4 when Josiah had to break it as an idol. But roughly 600 years later Jesus would talk about the serpent in the wilderness in John 3:14.

I’ve a message from the Lord, hallelujah!
This message unto you I’ll give,
‘Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”

“Look and live,” my brother, live,
Look to Jesus now, and live;
‘Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”


Numbers 21:17Spring up, O well!

Numbers 22:6 – Was Balaam blessed by Satan, by God, or just a savvy soothsayer? Apparently by God – v.8 says that He knew the personal name of the LORD. Was this part of the Abrahamic blessing (Genesis 22:18) – that people outside of Israel experienced the LORD?

Luke 1:30 – God told Moses to fear not in today’s reading, now He tells Mary to fear not.

Luke 1:33 – This is an application of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:7

Luke 1:51-53 – The God of contrasts is the God of the impossible (v.37).

Psalm 57:5, 11Be Thou Exalted, Forever and Ever, God of Eternity, the Ancient of Days.

Proverbs 11:10-11 – While we are living for the next millennium, we can bring blessing to the cities that we inhabit in this year.

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Daily Encouragement

March 13 – The Red Heifer

March 13
Numbers 19:1-20:29
Luke 1:1-25
Psalm 56:1-13
Proverbs 11:8

We’re trucking down the Bible highway! We’re completed 5 books of the Bible and will begin Luke today!

Rodger Dusatko, Public Domain

Numbers 19:2Jimmy DeYoung has some great insights on the red heifer:

The ordinance of the “Red Heifer” was given to the Jewish people, from God, through Moses. This ordinance was for the “cleansing of those desecrated”, desecrated by coming in contact with “death”. Any such contact would make that Jewish person “un-pure” and with the need of “purification”.  

The “ordinance of the Red Heifer” was given after the “Ten Commandments”, to Moses as the spokesman for God, to the Jewish people. It is a “prophecy”, in symbolic form, which was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

As you can see by reading our devotional passage for today, the “red heifer” was to have never worn a “yoke” and was to be without a blemish of any type, verse 2. The “red” color of the young cow must also be without any other spot of any other color.   The priest was to lead the red heifer to an “alter without the gate”, meaning 3,000 feet away from the Tabernacle or Temple, and “before his face”, verse 3, meaning to the “east” of the Tabernacle or Temple. “His face” is referring to the “Glory of the Lord” that hovered over the “Ark of the Covenant”. After the priest “ceremonially killed” the red heifer it was placed on a “fire” of cedar wood and reduced to ashes. While that was happening the priest added a “scarlet ribbon” and some “hyssop”, a sponge-like plant, and the ashes of these ingredients were then added to a “stone jar” with “living water”, running water or “rain water”. Then this “ashen-water” was sprinkled on that or those desecrated.   This ordinance will be reinstated during the Tribulation Period but is only a prototype of the “purification by the blood of Jesus Christ”, to cleanse each of us from our personal desecration, the result of sin. By the way, there is now a  report that a Red Heifer is ready to be used during the Tribulation Period, that yet future time of Judgment on the Earth.


Numbers 19:20 – If you refuse the water of separation (baptism into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27, Ephesians 4:4-6, I Peter 3:21)) made possible by the death of the perfect sacrifice – you will be cut off from the congregation. John 3:36 reiterates this.

Numbers 20:8-12 – Moses had been faithful to God for multiple books of the Bible, enduring the murmuring of Israel, and much more. Why is God so upset at Moses? Was it that he made himself equal with God (note the ‘we’ in v.10)? The problem is that Moses disobeyed. The first time he was commanded to strike the rock (Exodus 17). The second time he was commanded to speak to the rock. What was so important about the rock?

1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that the Rock was Christ. Christ was sacrificed once (Hebrews 9:28). Unfortunately many today still attempt to sacrifice Christ afresh (impossible per Hebrews 6:6)! We do not need to crucify Him again. We need to merely speak to Him. As Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Numbers 20:24 – God had demonstrated His Gospel message, and Moses and Aaron destroyed the picture, and were judged. Aaron was not punished for making the golden calf, or rebelling against Moses with Miriam, but for tampering with the Gospel!

Luke 1:17 – John the Baptist would make ready a people prepared for the Lord. All the prophecies we read about today – the Red Heifer, the Rock in the Wilderness, was culminated in the message of John – Get ready! Jesus is Coming! And today we have a very similar message – Jesus is Coming Again!


Psalm 56:3 – Short, simple, and true.

Proverbs 11:8 – The result of Psalm 56:3

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Daily Encouragement

March 12 – Aaron and the Rebellions

March 12
Numbers 16:41-18:32
Mark 16:1-20
Psalm 55:1-23
Proverbs 11:7

Numbers 16:41 – Another day, another rebellion. Good thing that we today never grumble, murmur, rebel or disobey the Lord! Oh wait…. It is interesting that Aaron who had built the golden calf, and was jealous of Moses, has now been on the right side in three of the last four rebellions (Aaron is absent from Numbers 14:44). If you want a fun research project, see where Aaron landed in the different rebellions we showed yesterday.

Aaron’s Staff Buds, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld

Numbers 17:8 – Aaron had sinned grievously against Moses and the LORD, leading two rebellions against God. Lucifer was irrevocably punished for leading just one. But Aaron repented and demonstrated his repentance by choosing the right side in the time of mutiny again and again. The LORD chose to publicly honor Aaron with a miracle, and permanently preserve it in the Ark of the Covenant (Numbers 17:10), to be stored with the manna, and with the Ten Commandments. The only names found within the Ark of the Covenant are the LORD’s, and Aaron’s. Aren’t God’s mercies amazing?

Numbers 18:1 – Not only did the LORD preserve Aaron’s name, but He spoke to Aaron again. Moses was able to speak with the LORD mouth to mouth (Numbers 12:8). Aaron was allowed to tag along with Moses on multiple occasions hearing from the LORD (Exodus 6:13, Exodus 12:1, Exodus 12:43, Leviticus 11:1, 13:1, 14:33, 15:1, Numbers 2:1, 4:1, 4:17, 14:26, 16:20, 19:1, 20:12, 20:23). Sometimes God told Moses to speak to Aaron (Leviticus 6:25, 16:2, 17:2,  21:17, 22:2, 22:18, Numbers 6:23, 8:2). But only on a few occasions did Aaron hear from God alone (Exodus 4:27, Leviticus 10:8, Numbers 18:1, 8, 20). This communication from God is the first private communication since the rebellion that ended up with Miriam contracting leprosy. Sometimes when you’ve sinned against someone you are afraid to see them because you’re afraid they will give you the “silent treatment.” God restored fellowship with Aaron in spite of his sins, following Aaron’s repentance! He tells Aaron that He Himself will be Aaron’s inheritance (v.20).

Numbers 18:19 – A covenant of salt? John MacArthur has some insight:

Numbers 18:19 a covenant of salt forever. Salt, which does not burn, was a metaphor to speak of durability. As salt keeps its flavor, so the Lord’s covenant with the priesthood was durable. The Lord would provide through the offerings of His people for His priests forever.

Mark 16:4 – Not only was the gravestone rolled away, but every burden of my heart was rolled away. All my sin had to go, ‘neath the crimson flow!


Psalm 55:12 – A foreshadow of Judas betraying his friend Jesus.

Psalm 55:17 – How often do you pray?

Psalm 55:22 – Interesting that this Old Testament theme is repeated in I Peter 5:7.

Proverbs 11:7 – Wicked men have only decades left to accomplish their desires. Are you living for this century or the next million years?

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Daily Encouragement

March 11 – Fringes of Blue

March 11
Numbers 15:17-16:40
Mark 15:1-47
Psalm 54:1-7
Proverbs 11:5-6

Numbers 15:38-40 – In reading Barnes’ Commentary we find:

The arrangement of the threads and knots, to which the Jews attached the greatest importance, was so adjusted as to set forth symbolically the 613 precepts of which the Law was believed to consist. In our Lord‘s time the Pharisees enlarged their fringes Matthew 23:5 in order to obtain reputation for their piety.


Numbers 16:3 – Which rebellion is this in the count of rebellions?

  1. Exodus 14:11 – Israelites at the Red Sea
  2. Exodus 15:24 – Israelites at Marah, bitter water
  3. Exodus 16:2 – Israelites at Sin, want of manna
  4. Exodus 17:3 – Israelites at Rephidim, thirst
  5. Exodus 32:1 – Aaron/Israel, Mount Sinai, Golden Calf
  6. Numbers 12:1 – Miriam & Aaron, Hazeroth, Ethiopian wife
  7. Numbers 13:32 – Ten Spies, Wilderness of Paran, Canaan Report
  8. Numbers 14:2 – Israelites, Wilderness of Paran, Canaan Report
  9. Numbers 14:40 – Israelites, Wilderness of Paran, Post-Canaan Report vs. Amalekites
  10. Numbers 16:3 – Korah and 250 princes, rebellion
  11. Numbers 16:41 – Israelites, upset about Korah’s death
  12. Numbers 20:3 – Israelites, Kadesh, thirst (Moses struck the rock)
  13. Numbers 25:1 — Shittim, Israelites, whoredom with the daughters of Moab
  14. Numbers 31:14 – Officers and Captains, Battle of Midian, saving the women alive

Mark 15:1 – We see another Hebrew trial of Jesus – this was the attempt at legality – a daylight trial. However, even this according to some violated the custom of waiting until after the morning sacrifice (for more see the great old classic, The Trial of Jesus from a Lawyer’s Standpoint).

Mark 15:18 – The One they mocked as King, they will kneel before as Lord (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10).

Psalm 54 – Did you catch the rhyming poetry?

  1. Save me / Judge me
  2. Hear / Give ear
  3. Strangers / Oppressors
  4. God / Lord
  5. reward evil / cut them off
  6. freely sacrifice / praise thy name
  7. delivered me / desire upon enemies

Proverbs 11:5-6 – The rewards of righteousness are intrinsic.

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Daily Encouragement

March 10 – The Mistrial of Jesus

March 10
Numbers 14:1-15:16
Mark 14:53-72
Psalm 53:1-6
Proverbs 11:4

Numbers 14:4 – Interesting that this crowd is mutinying, but they realize they need a leader. Thankfully Aaron is on the right side (v.5), even when they were almost stoned (v.10)!

Numbers 14:18 – Is Moses more just than God? Or is God seeing if Moses has remembered the character of God? In this verse Moses is recalling Exodus 34:6-7 – and claiming the promises that God has made.

Numbers 14:27 – God says they murmured against Him, but  v.2 says they murmured against Moses & Aaron. When we grumble against the leaders God has allowed to be in stead over us, are we grumbling against God?

Mark 14:64 – We have a grave error in the Mistrial of Jesus.

By contrast, Jewish law prevents a confession from being used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. A commonly cited basis for this rule is the Biblical verse prescribing that a person is to be convicted of a crime upon the testimony of two witnesses,[4] thereby excluding other types of evidence. Because a party to litigation is ineligible to testify, reliance on the testimony of witnesses bars the use of confessions.


I’ve had the opportunity in Sunday School to present the Necessity of the Trial of Jesus. When we get to Luke’s account of the Trial I’ll share more on why this was an incredibly important event.

Psalm 53:1 – National Atheist’s Day is coming up April 1st!

Psalm 53:3 – If you think you are a good person, take the http://www.GoodPersonTest.com/

Proverbs 11:4I Dreamed that the Great Judgment Morning Had Dawned

I dreamed that the great judgment morning
Had dawned, and the trumpet had blown;
I dreamed that the nations had gathered
To judgment before the white throne;…

The rich man was there, but his money
Had melted and vanished away;
A pauper he stood in the judgment,
His debts were too heavy to pay;…

…The soul that had put off salvation,
“Not tonight; I’ll get saved by and by,
No time now to think of religion!”
At last they had found time to die.

And, oh, what a weeping and wailing,
As the lost were told of their fate;
They cried for the rocks and the mountains,
They prayed, but their prayer was too late.


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Daily Encouragement

March 9 – 12 Men Went to Spy on Canaan

March 9
Numbers 11:24-13:33
Mark 14:22-52
Psalm 52:1-9
Proverbs 11:1-3

Hult, Adolf, 1869-1943; Augustana synod. [from old catalog]

Numbers 11:29 – We are in a special time – where the LORD has put His Spirit on all of His people.

Numbers 12:2 – Moses did not need to justify his authority – God blesses the meek.

Numbers 12:11 – Aaron seems to have learned his lesson from the golden calf.

Numbers 13:2Twelve men went to spy on Canaan.


Numbers 13:23 – Caleb saw the land at age 40 (Joshua 14:7) and yet he would not possess it for 45 years – age 85 (Joshua 14:10). Caleb would ask Joshua, his fellow spy, for the Mountain (Joshua 14:12). Interesting contrast to the insurrection of Numbers 12:1 where Aaron and Miriam felt equal to Moses, yet Caleb who travelled with Joshua and stood with Moses (Numbers 13:30) would voluntarily submit and seek permission from Joshua – his peer. BTW, there’s a song based on this incident – “I want that mountain!


Mark 14:24 – Remember Jesus is not talking about the blood of the last 27 books of the Bible, rather a testament in the “last will and testament” variety. Hebrews 9:16 tells us “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”

Mark 14:31 – Many will claim to be willing to die for Jesus, but few will live for Jesus, or even just pray for an hour (v.37).

Mark 14:51 – Many scholars think this is a secret reference to the author.

Psalm 52 – We have a clear contrast between the actions, thoughts, methods, desires, preferences, affections, and the end of the ‘mighty man’ compared to the ‘righteous’ man.

Proverbs 11:1 – God cares how we conduct our business.

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Daily Encouragement

March 8 – Why are Biblical lists of names seemingly boring?

March 8
Numbers 10:1-11:23
Mark 14:1-21
Psalm 51:1-19
Proverbs 10:31-32

Numbers 10:26 – Ever thought about why lists of names seem unimportant? I worked on political campaigns in the past and heard that people would pore through mailers that had long lists of names. What’s the difference between the Biblical lists and a campaign mailer with a list of names? If you’re a voter – you may check a list of endorsers of an unfamiliar candidate to see if there is anyone you know or have heard of. Unfortunately, we don’t know and haven’t heard of people in these lists – Pagiel the son of Ocran, etc. But these were real people who really lived and were recognized by God for their faithfulness in leadership.

Numbers 10:35 – This verse was inscribed in Latin on a silver gilt in the 600s AD, and was uncovered as part of the Staffordshire Hoard in England.

Numbers 11:1 – Patch the Pirate wrote a song about people who complain – “Wah, Wah, Wah, Call the Wahmbulance.” (This rendition was recorded at a recent VCY Rally).

At 26:25 is the “Wah-wah-wahmbulance song”

Numbers 11:11-15 – A common prayer of many in ministry be they pastors or Christian school leaders. While Jethro taught Moses the principle of delegation earlier in Exodus 18:11, but while delegation doesn’t require the Holy Spirit, true ministry cannot be done without the Holy Spirit.


Mark 14:5 – I’ve thought about different events in church history where someone used their financial resources to make a significant gift for ministry (imagine if you owned a printing press and were friends with William Tyndale!). This definitely makes the list. Talk about legacy giving (v.9)! And it seems to have played into Judas’ different financial priorities (v.10).

Psalm 51 – Patch the Pirate (Ron Hamilton) recorded a song based on Psalm 51:3, “My Sin is Ever Before Me, Lord.” May we take our sin as seriously as David did.


Proverbs 10:31-32 – The mouth seems to be powerful and we’re not even into James 3 – the classic passage on the tongue! (But you can still listen to a Patch song on the Tongue.

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Daily Encouragement

March 7 – Introducing the Menorah!

March 7
Numbers 8:1-9:23
Mark 13:14-37
Psalm 50:1-23
Proverbs 10:29-30

By ariely – The Temple Institute, Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3078706

Numbers 8:2 – Ever wonder where the Menorah came from? Not just for Hanukkah – the Menorah was designed to light the temple. The seven lamps from one candlestick make up the Menorah. This Menorah is made for the coming Third Temple that will be built someday on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. On my trips to Israel I’ve seen it, but it is hard to miss – it sits in view of the Temple Mount near the headquarters of the Temple Mount Institute.

Numbers 8:12 – Do you think sin is important and offensive to God?

Numbers 8:25-26 – An interesting take on retirement – you may need to change your field of service, but you can’t check out from service.

Numbers 9:8 – Great words of wisdom when we don’t know what to do. Unfortunately others did not always follow.

Mark 13:35 – Are you watching and ready for the return of the Lord?

Psalm 50:10 – Does God need our sacrifices? We merely offer to God a portion of what He has given us.

Psalm 50:15 – Very similar to the verse that has been called God’s telephone number (Jeremiah 33:3)

Proverbs 10:30 – Are you living for this century or the next century?

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