I found our Numbers passage to be rather humourous. After Balaam's donkey talks to him (shades of Narnia), he keeps blessing the Israelites instead of cursing them, as was Balak's intent and Balaam's desire - it was quite clear that Balaam wanted the silver and golf Balak offered him. Balaam's heart was certainly not in the right place, but God, in His sovereignty, used him anyway.
Something we can learn from this passage is that our motives are just as, if not more than, important as our actions. If we do the right thing for the wrong reason, we are still sinning. Outwardly, Balaam said the right things, but his outward facade of spirituality simply covered up a corrupt inward life. Does our walk match our talk? And do we have the right motives?
In Matthew we see one of the genealogies of Jesus. Matthew's version traced Jesus' ancestry back through David and Abraham on Joseph's side, showing that He was the Messiah from a kingly perspective (kingship is passed on through the father's side). I love that it includes four women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba) - it raises both ethnic and ethical questions. At least two of them were not Israelites by birth and they all had reputations that would have made it easy to want to exclude them from a genealogy. But Jesus' geneaology makes it clear that Jesus is the Savior of all people - Jews, Gentiles, men, and women. And no sin could thwart His plan and no sin is too great for Him to forgive.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Numbers 26-28; Matthew 2