There are a few major events in these two chapters.
First, the return of complaining resulting in snake bites. This moment of punishment and sequential healing becomes a major foreshadow of Christ.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-16)
Next, war with the people beyond the Jordan, prompts Balak, king of Moab, to enlist the supernatural help of Balaam. Another significant story, which will be continued tomorrow.
Peter references Balaam in 2 Peter 2:15-16 when he warns against false prophets. Balaam wasn’t trying to demonstrate integrity or restraint when he refused to help the first time. He was being paid to curse Israel and intended to do so. But God is in control of all things, and in this case, used a donkey to bring him to his senses.
God is in control, all-powerful and merciful. He is bigger than our reactions and saves us from our own evil intentions. Something major happens every time Israel complains and they still don’t learn. They’re out there complaining about God and getting bitten by snakes. Meanwhile, He’s providing a way of salvation and protecting them from a powerful sorcerer.
If this doesn’t humble us, I don’t know what will. This is the God who gives the gift of eloquence to atheists. Even in our cursing, misuse of blessing and entitled complaining, He sustains us and plans the biggest rescue of all time.
Check your heart today. What do you find yourself prone to complain about? What are you mad at God for? What can you thank Him for? How has He provided or protected?