Thank you, gracious Father, for your lovingkindness. Help me to rest within your presence and your abundant provisions for me.
Read NUMBERS 22:1-20
Balak Summons Balaam
22 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.
2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.
4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”
So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:
“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6 Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”
7 The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.
8 “Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.
9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10 Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: 11 ‘A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.’”
12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”
13 The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”
14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16 They came to Balaam and said:
“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”
18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.”
20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do you feel about your life? Thank God for his care for you.
For the third time on their journey from Egypt, the Israelites settle for an extended period, this time on the plains of Moab (v 1). From the hills above they appeared a huge, threatening group of people and animals, all requiring food and water (v 4). Their interaction with the king of Moab, Balak, and the pagan prophet Balaam takes three whole chapters.
Behind this story lies the foundational promise of God to Abraham: ‘I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’ (Genesis 12:3). Balaam cannot curse the people whom God has blessed (v 12).
Later in our Scriptures, Paul wrestles with the ‘irrevocable’ call and blessing of God (Romans 9-11), and concludes that God’s ways are inscrutable (Romans 11:33). For us, there is a two-fold application. On the one hand, we are all recipients of God’s blessing. The blessings of Abraham reach all of us through Jesus (Romans 15:27). At the same time, God does seem to particularly bless some people, and this can arouse in us strong emotions, as it did in Cain (see Genesis 4:2-7) and Balak (vs 5,6).
Where might the inclinations of your heart toward someone in your home, your church, your community need the Holy Spirit’s refining?
Lord, I open my heart to receive all the blessing that you generously pour on me. I want to rejoice when I see you blessing others. Keep me from envy, resentment, and the temptation to resist your will for them.
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