James 4:14b says, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Life is brief but not insignificant for God has breathed life into Man and He calls us to account for what He has given us. Seize the day.
In my comments in Cover to Cover, I mentioned that at first glance it may seem that women are being unfairly limited in their business transactions, but that is not the case. They are actually being protected from unscrupulous men who seek to trick others (men or women) into foolish vows and contracts. The weaknesses of men, such as indecisiveness, are also on display here.
Old Testament sacrifices, repeated as they were every day, pointed to the need for a better sacrifice. That sacrifice was the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Through Him, we are made acceptable sacrifices to God.
Satan is a crafty enemy. If a frontal attack won’t work, he will find a weak point and penetrate there. Balaam, as an instrument of Satan, found Israel’s weak point and defeated them. Keep up your guard for he will harass us wherever he can.
Balaam was an enigmatic character. He seems to have had some kind of relationship to Yahweh, the God of Israel. He was hired by Balak to bring down a curse upon Israel from their God. He refused to comply, not because he didn’t want to do it but, because God hindered his devious scheme. The story didn’t end there. More on Balaam tomorrow.
The Reformers understood the place of the law in the life of the Christian as a guide to our growth in sanctification. The law was not a means of justification (Romans 3:19-20) as the Pharisees wrongly assumed in Jesus’ day. The ceremonial law of the Aaronic priesthood, the temple, etc. was fulfilled in and by Jesus Christ. But the moral law was not and is not irrelevant to the disciple of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:17-20). [See R.C. Sproul’s article on the Three Uses of the Law.]
The term “traveling mercies”, though quaint, reflects a dependence on God, similar to that which Moses displays here (Numbers 10:35-36). It (or a similar term) ought to be a regular part of our prayers.