Balaam Delivers God’s Message

Krista Williams

Day: 24 | Plan: Numbers

Today's Reading: Numbers 24

Numbers 24:10 (NIV) “Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, ‘I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times.’”

Balak, the king of Moab, hires Balaam, a pagan prophet, to curse Israel. But twice now, Balaam has blessed Israel instead of cursing them. (Numbers 23) At this point, Balak realizes it would be best if Balaam would just stop! He pleads with him to be quiet. That way he can’t curse or bless Israel at all.

But Balak can’t stop or silence Balaam. No one could. He must speak all the Lord commands him to say. So together, they keep trying to find a loophole. They decide to move to a different vantage point and start over … again. Finally, Balaam realizes it’s completely hopeless to try to curse Israel. So instead of looking for omens or relying on sorcery, Balaam turns towards Israel, yields to the sovereign will of God and God’s Spirit comes upon him.

This time, more than just a blessing pours forth. Balaam foretells of Israel’s settlement and abundant blessings in the Promised Land of Israel’s future exalted king and kingdom, as well as how Israel shall dominate and devour their enemies. Then, Balaam ends his third message by restating God’s eternal promise to Abraham. Declaring that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed.

Balak is frustrated and furious. In contempt, he claps his hands and demands that Balaam leaves immediately without collecting his fee. Even so, Balaam has no choice. He must finish speaking all the Lord commands him to say. As he continues with his final oracle, Balaam gives a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, pronounces judgment on Moab, and promises the utter destruction of Israel’s future enemies. Then Balaam went home.

I suspect Balaam and Balak both left deeply disappointed. Balaam wanted his money, and Balak wanted Israel cursed. But God would not allow it. In fact, just the opposite happened. Scripture further explains that God wouldn’t listen to Balaam. And even though Balaam tried to curse Israel, God turned Balaam’s curse into a blessing because God loves His people. (Deuteronomy 23:5)

Every word God spoke through Balaam that was recorded in these prophetic oracles would prove true. This story is a powerful celebration of the certainty of God’s Word, His love for His people, and Israel’s promised triumphant progress into the land. A divinely appointed progress that could not be halted by these two men and their repeated attempts to curse Israel.

All the scheming and devices of men cannot hinder God’s plan. He is sovereign. He will do what He is determined to do, and He will perfectly accomplish His plans.

In the end, we can know with overwhelming certainty: God’s people will be blessed. God’s plans will prevail. God’s purposes will succeed. God’s Word will endure. And God’s love for His people will not fail.

Prayer: Almighty God, thank You for this reminder in Scripture that Your plans will not fail and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. You send forth Your Word and You will see to it that it is accomplished. You are over all things and You can do all things. Lord, use whatever means You choose to speak Your truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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