Psalm 48 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of the sons of Korah.
1 The Eternal is great and mighty, worthy of great praise
4 Not long ago, enemy kings gathered together
9 We have meditated upon Your loyal love, O God,
12 Explore Zion; make an accounting,
Numbers 24:1-14 The Voice (VOICE)
24 Meanwhile, it was obvious to Balaam that the Eternal One was quite happy to bless Israel, so he didn’t go through the trouble of looking for omens of God’s intent. Instead, Balaam contemplated the wilderness stretched out before him. 2 Seeing the Israelites camping there, in their orderly arrangement by tribes, he was suddenly overcome by God’s Spirit. 3 He recited God’s words.
Balaam: This is an oracle of Balaam (Beor’s son),
Balak and his men have been engaged in preparing the altars and making the sacrifices; he doesn’t like the sound of this at all.
10 He was absolutely furious with Balaam, smacking his hands together with anger.
Balak (confronting Balaam): I can’t believe this! I brought you all this way and asked you to curse my enemies, but instead you actually blessed them. And you did that not just once, mind you, or twice, but three times. 11 Now get out of here! Get out of my sight—go back to that miserable place you call home. Yeah, sure, I said I’d greatly honor you, but the Eternal has withheld the honor that I had planned for you.
Balaam (to Balak): 12 Remember the first time that you sent messengers to get me? Even then I told them 13 I don’t care how much silver and gold you have or what all you’d give to me; I cannot alter what God would have me say. Whatever the Eternal One puts into my mouth is what will come out, whether good or evil words. 14 So, yes, I’m heading home. But before I go, I will tell you what those people will do to your nation when your time is up.
Luke 1:26-38 The Voice (VOICE)
26 Six months later in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God 27 to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. 28 The messenger entered her home.
Messenger: Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! [Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.][a]
29 The heavenly messenger’s words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was.
Messenger: 30 Mary, don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God. 31 Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him “Savior,” or Jesus.[b] 32 Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, 33 and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.
Mary: 34 But I have never been with a man. How can this be possible?
Messenger: 35 The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The Most High will overshadow you. That’s why this holy child will be known, as not just your son, but also as the Son of God. 36 It sounds impossible, but listen—you know your relative Elizabeth has been unable to bear children and is now far too old to be a mother. Yet she has become pregnant, as God willed it. Yes, in three months, she will have a son. 37 So the impossible is possible with God.
Mary (deciding in her heart): 38 Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.
Luke is very interested in the ways that disadvantaged people of his day respond to God. Already there is a fascinating interplay between Zacharias’s response to God and Mary’s.
And the heavenly messenger was gone.
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