Ellen G. White Writings

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From Eternity Past, Page 320

Chapter 41—How Balaam Led Israel Into Sin

This chapter is based on Numbers 25.

With renewed faith in God the victorious armies of Israel had returned from Bashan and were confident of the immediate conquest of Canaan. Only the river Jordan lay between them and the Promised Land. Just across the river was a rich plain watered with streams and shaded by luxuriant palm trees. On the western border rose the towers and palaces of Jericho, “the city of palm trees.”

On the eastern side of Jordan was a plain several miles in width and extending some distance along the river. This sheltered valley had the climate of the tropics. Here the Israelites encamped and in the acacia groves found an agreeable retreat.

But amid these attractive surroundings they were to encounter an evil more deadly than hosts of armed men or wild beasts of the wilderness. That country, rich in natural advantages, had been defiled by the inhabitants. In the public worship of Baal, the most degrading scenes were enacted. On every side were places noted for idolatry and licentiousness, the names suggestive of corruption.

The Israelites’ minds became familiar with the vile thoughts constantly suggested. Their life of ease produced its demoralizing effect, and almost unconsciously they were departing from God into a condition where they would fall prey to temptation.

During the time of their encampment beside Jordan, Moses was preparing for the occupation of Canaan. In this work the great leader was fully employed. But to

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