From God’s word – God, Balaam and the Israelites

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By Toni Ford

Have you ever read the story of Balak, Balaam and the talking donkey? I encourage you to take some time this week and read chapters 22-25 in the Book of Numbers, where there are so many lessons to be learned.
This week, I’d like to focus is on the first two verses of Numbers 24. The King of Moab, Balak, was trying to persuade, convince and even pay Balaam, a soothsayer (one who professes to foretell the future through witchcraft), to destroy the Israelites by speaking a curse over them. Balaam, the son of Beor, was not an Israelite. In Hebrew his name means “destroyer of the people.” How appropriate that the definition of his name lines up with what Balak was asking Balaam to do – speak a curse of destruction over God’s people, the Israelites.
The Lord revealed some important truths from these first two verses of Numbers 24, which I found very applicable in my own life.
God has and always will bless Israel. Numbers 24:1 says, “By now, Balaam realized that the Lord was determined to bless Israel.” One translation says, “Balaam saw that it pleased Adonai to bless Israel.” It might have taken Balaam two or three times, but I love how Scripture uses the words “by now.” Not only did Balaam finally realize that the Lord was determined to bless Israel, but we also see the patience and grace of the Lord in giving Balaam several opportunities to finally wake up and realize the plans of the Lord. This made me stop and ask myself the question, “How quickly am I attuned to the plans and ways of the Lord?” So often, we are determined to do things our way, which causes us to have tunnel vision and miss hearing and seeing from the Lord.
The word “determined” stood out to me, and another version says “pleased.” Even though he dealt in witchcraft, Balaam was discerning enough to recognize that blessing Israel was plea-sing to the Lord. Adonai was determined to bless Israel. If God is so determined to bless Israel, and if I truly want to obey the Lord, then why would I not be just as determined to bless Israel? The more trips I lead to Israel, the more I realize that so many people are clueless when it comes to God’s instructions regarding praying and blessing Israel. There are multiple ways in which we can bless Israel. If you are not sure where to begin or would like more information, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to share the various ways in which you can be a blessing to Israel.
There are times, God calls us to take a different direction. Numbers 24:1B, says “Balaam did not resort to divination as before. Instead, he turned and looked out toward the wilderness, where he saw the people of Israel camped, tribe by tribe.” Normally, Balaam resorted to witchcraft and divination when seeking an answer, but this time he did something different. Scripture says that he “turned and looked out.” Those words caught my attention because they are words of action and words that refer to taking a different direction.
Sometimes we have to be willing to see things a different way, get out of our normal patterns of doing things and be willing to turn and look out while taking a different direction. When Balaam turned and looked out from God’s perspective, he was finally able to see with new eyes and with a compassion for the people who the Lord was determined to bless.
Stepping out in faith often leads to a greater outpouring of the Spirit. The next verse reads, “Then the Spirit of the God came upon him, and this is the message he delivered.” Ba-laam had to take the first steps by turning and looking out. Only then did the Spirit of God come upon him. Not only did the Spirit of God come upon Balaam, one who was involved in witchcraft, but the Spirit gave him the next message to deliver.
Wow, this is so powerful! Can you remember a time when you had to act before God revealed something to you? You had to take the first step, after which the Spirit of the Lord started flowing? There are many examples of this in Scripture, where God tells us to take the first step and then He will come along behind us fulfilling His promises, providing for us at just the right time or revealing a word of wisdom needed for our current situation. When this happens, I almost become giddy like a child, because I know that my God just stepped in and did what no one else could ever do!
Lord, I ask You to make me mindful of Your ways and Your heart. I want to see as You see, with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Nudge me when I need to “turn and look out” or when I need to take a step in faith while trusting in You. I long for a fresh outpouring of Your Spirit in my own life. Thank You for Your grace and patience with us as Your children. We love You, Lord.
If you would like me to join you in prayer, please e-mail me at tonif77@gmail.com. I would love to pray for you!

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