Episode 11

Published on:

30th Jan 2021

Numbers 22 -- 23

Book of Numbers #11

What would you do if God gave you the gift of Prophecy? Sit at home and keep it for yourself, use it to curse others, or sell it to the higher bidder?

Such were the choices that Balaam, a man gifted with the gift of prophecy. Balaam was not an Israelite, which shows that the Spirit goes where it wishes. Very little is known of him until he is summoned by Balak the Moabite king who asks Balaam to curse Israel for he knows that curse spoken by Balaam as the oracle of the Lord will stand.

In so doing, Balak commits a grave mistake that we are tempted to commit every day: to make God do our bidding. In other words, to act like a magician conjuring powerful spirits at his commands, spirits who will fulfill his wish and act as an extension of his own will.

Balaam may have known better but the lure of gold was too strong and besides Israel were not his people. He complies and instead of curses, he blesses Israel -- twice, which goes to show that God's will is done by the good and the wicked.

What of God? Should he not have warned Balaam of his error? Actually, God did, in the most wondrous way: he opens the mouth of Balaam's donkey and she speaks words of wisdom, reminiscent of the words St. John the Baptist will speak to the Pharisees of his time: "do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." (Matt. 3:9). The choice of a donkey and stones is not coincidental: the donkey is stubborn and stiff-necked like the pride of man, and the stone is hard, hard as a human heart.

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About the Podcast

Book of Numbers
Journey to the Promised Land
If Exodus is the face of the Pentateuch turning away from Egypt, Numbers is the turning to the Promised Land. How painful it is sometimes for us to leave what we love behind to follow Love into the wilderness.This series is not a verse-by-verse study of the Book of Numbers; it is a study of the human heart as he learns to leave behind the good of the world for the greatest good:

Duties of the Priesthood: how they must serve the Lord
The celebration of the Second Passover
Israel's fall and the Forty Years of wandering
Rebelling against God
The Test of the Rods and the awful punishment
The death of Aaron
The Snake of Bronze
Balaam the Prophet
The Seventh Month and the First War
Settlement in the Transjordan and final instructions

Numbers is a journey, a long and difficulty, often tragic journey (when seen from man's perspective) of a people who did the impossible: leave behind a land they had settled in for four hundred years and walk into the wilderness towards a war of conquest, a conquest of the Promised Land.If you were an Israelite, would you have liked to leave behind the familiar chores of Egypt -- especially after the ten plagues that had decimated the Egyptians and incapacitated their military power? Goshen, it must be remembered, was unharmed from the plagues and the Israelites could have lived a comfortable life in Goshen.The Lord, the mighty one, brings them out of Egypt into the wilderness and promises He would be by their side during the conquest of Canaan.They don't believe him. How many of us would?Exodus is not a human journey then, for we are all too familiar with man's tendency to sin, fall, betray, steal, lie and kill; the world is filled with stories recounting man's fall. Numbers is the book of the fidelity, constancy and love of the Lord who stays with Israel all through the forty years and never ceases to lead them. Throughout this study, we gain a deeper and more incisive knowledge of the constant presence of God next to us. He is here, he listens, and he rules. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," says the Lord in John 14:6. Numbers echoes these words and shows us how God is the way, the life and the truth.Numbers, teaches us about God's way, God's love and his unassailable Truth.

About your host

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Michael Mouawad

Michael Joseph Mouawad, aka Naji Mouawad, is a Lebanese-born Maronite. The Maronite Rite is one of the eastern rites of the Catholic Church under the authority of the Pope. The Maronites go back to Antioch and are disciples of Saint Maron--hence the name.

Michael is a husband and a father of seven children. He taught scripture at several churches in the San Diego Area. Predominantly, he taught the bible at Saint Ephrem Maronite Church, and at Saint Margaret in Ocean Side. He chose to teach Scripture for Catholics who wanted to deepen their understanding of the Word of God and who were willing to dive deep into the text. While these studies are not a verse-by-verse examination of the pages, they dive deep into the original meaning. The singular goal of this study is to help every Catholic to live a more biblically-centered life and to understand our present times in light of the Scriptures.

Qorbono--notice no u!--is a Syriac word that means the Mass and the Eucharist. This was the site that Michael maintained for years to share these bible studies with the world and now he is happy to make them available via podcasts for easier access and availability.

Michael is also the author of a high-fantasy epic--The Epic of Ahiram. He has already published five books of that epic and is working on publishing the remaining four. The Epic is evangelization via story-telling. It introduces essential Catholic concepts, including angels, demons, and transubstantiation to a generation of readers who may have grown up never hearing of or understanding these notions.

Michael is a professional Lead Software architect with over twenty years of experience in this field and loves writing code for his own use.