Choosing to be Yoked

Journal Entry // April 24, 2022

So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

Numbers 25:3 ESV

As I was reading this passage, I became interested in this notion that Israel had yoked himself. He was not forced into this, but freely chose to be yoked with Baal. There are some interesting definitions surround this word yoked:

  • Servitude and bondage
  • An oppressive agency
  • Wooden frame by which two animals are joined for working together
  • Device placed on the neck of a defeated person

All of these definitions draw out the image of a person that has lost their freedom. A person with a yoke is under the control of another. In this case, Israel had yoked himself to a different master and had chosen to give up their freedom in the Lord for servitude under a yoke.

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Murderous Pride

Journal Entry // April 23, 2022

And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”

Numbers 22:29 ESV

Pride is such a deceptive and pervasive part of our hearts that left unchecked it will bring about reckless disobedience to the Word of the Lord and even possible abandonment of the faith. The story of Balaam sounds an awful lot like the story of Jonah. With Balaam there is an overwhelming sense of unchecked pride in his life. Here is a man who has been granted visions from the Lord and is allowed to prophesy in the name of the God. Here is a man that has a ministry and calling from the Lord to share the word of these visions and to be the mouthpiece of God. Yet, Balaam was a man that also struggled with pride even in the midst of the amazing revelations and good works that he was allowed to be part of.

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Fearless Faith

Journal Entry // April 14, 2022

But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Numbers 13:30 ESV

Fearless faith… This is the type of faith that Caleb displays in this moment. After spending 40 days with these men on a mission to spy out the promised land, I’m sure there were many discussions about the report they were to give. Caleb was surely not caught off-guard by the report of the other spies that was filled with fear and dread. It took a tremendous amount of faith to not only bring a different report, but to quiet the people in the midst of the report and give his objection and encouragement to go take the land at once. I find that so interesting and encouraging. Caleb understood that this was the land of God’s promise to them. It doesn’t really matter who is occupying it. So, let’s stop waiting around and discussing the matter. Let’s go up NOW.

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Looking Backwards

Journal Entry // April 13, 2022

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. [6] But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

Numbers 11:5-6 ESV

Am I looking back over my past and longing for those days gone by and not giving praise and thanks to God for the blessings in front of me? Unfortunately, this is more true than I care to really think about. The Israelites had been miraculously brought out of the land of slavery and hardship where they were mistreated and abused. They were given great signs and wonders to announce the presence of God among them. They were even given miraculous bread (manna) to eat every single day. This was a constant reminder of God’s presence and blessing upon them each and every morning. Yet, the people were not satisfied and began to grumble. They grumbled at the miraculous because it became routine.

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