We have a variety of events that take place in these four chapters in Numbers, and then a pretty significant Scripture in I Corinthians that is used for a variety of reasons, so let's start in Numbers. We begin in 24 with a continuation of the life of Balaam, a prophet of the Lord, who was hired by the enemies of Israel, Balak, to prophesy negatively against Israel. Instead, we see in chapter 24 that he gives a blessing upon the troops which absolutely infuriates the king of Midian. As a result Balaam prophesies against the Midianites and the two men separate on probably less than favorable terms.
Chapter 25 gives us an insight into what is God's worst nightmare, which is that His people would turn from him and worship other gods. This happens within the context of Israelites marrying the women of Moab and then turning to the gods of Moab as a result. When we served in Italy it was very important for the very small Protestant community that their children would marry other Protestants. This didn't always happen and so as a result the community would decrease in size because when their children married outside of the faith in which they were raised it inevitably led to the decline of that faith being passed on from generation to generation. Moses had a solution for that, a spear through both the man and the woman who had disobeyed God.
Chapter 26 contains a census of the men who were of fighting age and chapter 27 has a great story of the daughters of a man who died and so they were not on the books to receive land like the rest of the Israelites. They appealed to Moses and actually won the appeal. From then on even if there were no sons in a family, upon the death of the father the daughter was able to inherit the land. This was quite a shift from previously laws which only recognized the male as one being able to inherit land.
I Corinthians speaks about the need to marry for the sole purpose of making sure that our passions are not out of control. Not normally why we say a couple should marry, which is for the sake of love. Paul is a pragmatist to the end, realizing that Jesus was coming soon so it is better not to get bogged down in the world. Notice he makes it very clear that it is not a sin to be married, just that it is better for a person to spend their time concerned about the matter of God rather than the matters of family life. When I started seminary I was convinced that God has called me to a life of celibacy. Well, that didn't last long, as soon as I met Stacy, which was during orientation and even before classes had started, I realized that I had heard God's command wrong.
Paul also gives recommendations in regards to divorce and the eating of food sacrificed to other gods. I go back to that verse that we read earlier, all things are allowed, but not all things are beneficial.