Numbers 23

  1. Balaam arrives to meet the king and tells him that he can only speak that which the Lord authorized him to speak. With that in place, the king takes the prophet to a place on the mountain for Balaam to curse the Israelites. After the necessary arrangements, Balaam comes back and gives a word of blessing – how can one curse what the Lord blesses (23:1-12)? Not to be easily defeated or refused, the king takes the prophet to another location and the same effort is made. The prophet comes back and this time the king was asked (told) if he thought God was like man, that is, capricious? God is not like a man that changes His mind when He determines what is to be done. The king expressed his disappointment; Balaam remarks, “Did I not tell you so?” (23:13-26). So, again, not easily defeated Balak takes the prophet to another location and begins the procedure all over again (23:27-30).
  2. Application: In this scenario it might be easy to miss a great lesson or two. In the first “go-around” the prophet comes back and tells the king that no matter what man seeks to do, if God is on your side – what can man do to alter anything of God? In the second “go-around” the prophet tells the king that the Lord does not change His mind like man; moreover, the Lord looks upon His children in a special way when He looks through “special” lenses. Did Israel have no iniquity (23:21)? Clearly, whatever was against them, the Lord saw it in a special way at a special time, and in this there is much that is humbling to us.