Numbers 23:1,2,7-10,18-26 Then Balaam said to King Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” Balak followed his instructions, and the two of them sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar... This was the message Balaam delivered: “Balak summoned me to come from Aram; the king of Moab brought me from the eastern hills. ‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me! Come and announce Israel’s doom.’ But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the Lord has not condemned? I see them from the cliff tops; I watch them from the hills. I see a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations. Who can count Jacob’s descendants, as numerous as dust? Who can count even a fourth of Israel’s people? Let me die like the righteous; let my life end like theirs”... This was the message Balaam delivered: “Rise up, Balak, and listen! Hear me, son of Zippor. God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it! No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob; no trouble is in store for Israel. For the Lord their God is with them; he has been proclaimed their king. God brought them out of Egypt; for them he is as strong as a wild ox. No curse can touch Jacob; no magic has any power against Israel. For now it will be said of Jacob, ‘What wonders God has done for Israel!’ These people rise up like a lioness, like a majestic lion rousing itself. They refuse to rest until they have feasted on prey, drinking the blood of the slaughtered!” Then Balak said to Balaam, “Fine, but if you won’t curse them, at least don’t bless them!” But Balaam replied to Balak, “Didn’t I tell you that I can do only what the Lord tells me?”
After being corrected by a humble donkey, Balaam seems now to be advising the kings of the land and there is no fear in him for man. What happened and how is it relevant to us today?
Balsam obviously recognized his guilt when God corrected him in the last chapter and is now a man with a mission not for his own benefit but for God.
The lure of riches is what got him to undertake the journey but at the end of this chapter, the only riches we can see in store for Balaam have to be in heaven because he has become the donkey that spoke to King Balak.
What is even more unique here is Balaam spoke only that which he was instructed and he did not know this multitude that stretched out beyond the horizon on all sides of Balak's empire.
This shows us clearly how God is at work behind the scenes while we wait on him just as the Israelites were doing at this point. Several of them probably doubted the ability or the existence of God but our promise-keeping God was certainly at work in the hearts and minds of the enemies of His chosen people.
Balaam in his response to King Balak refers to the Israelites as those whom God has chosen not to condemn, a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations, as numerous as dust, bearers of Jacob's promise from God, that God lives in the midst of them, no magic can touch them and that they rise up like lions who seek their prey.
Balaam here speaks of a people he does not know and causes King Balak and his subjects to tremble at the thought of their bleak future as they contend against God.
Balaam also describes God as the one who is able to bless and curse, the promise keeper, the voice of final authority, that God is not human and therefore bound by sin that causes Him to lie or change His mind, the protector of His chosen ones, the King of His people, the deliverer, the protector and the provider.
These certainly are attributes that the children of God are aware of but when Balaam spoke these words, he spoke in the spirit as led by God and testified that which he had not seen but was revealed to Him by God.
For Balaam, the fear of man and greed of wealth was replaced by the fear of God and the longing to serve Him regardless of the consequence of his words. Reminds me of a pastor in Iran, Nadarkhani, who is at present awaiting a death sentencing for converting to Islam and living out his new faith.
The questions that begs to be answered here is as a people who have a common family name, Christian, what is the price we are will to pay for our faith in God and why?
Balaam stood up because he had experienced God and was a beneficiary of God's endless love in the hopelessness of his life.
What about you and I? Are we so affected and transformed by Jesus Christ's sacrifice of His own life for our restoration that we are willing to live our every breath praising Him?
In His Loving Service,
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