It’s been a while since I’ve been on here. Starting Coop for my daughter’s schooling, taking a trip to visit my dad, and just life in general. I have several recipes that I have been working on and I hope to get them on here soon. However today I want to address something that has been on my heart. Half of the country is celebrating the re-election of the President, while the other half is angry and perhaps even fearful. This country is changing, whether it’s for the best or not is in the eye of the beholder. While I am not going to make this political in the sense that I will say one man was a better choice than the other, but I want to address the concern many may have. To be honest with you I didn’t like Obama or Romney. I think it’s a sad time in America, if that’s the best we have to offer. Many felt they had to pick the lesser of 2 evils, some felt that was Romney, while others clearly felt that was Obama. Who was right and who was wrong doesn’t matter. This is for my friends that are concerned about the President’s stand for Israel (or lack thereof) and their civil liberties.
In my Bible Study we have been studying the story of Balaam and Balak in the book of Numbers. As many of you are aware God uses real people and real events to teach us about Him. Also Jesus says we can search the scriptures and find Him. This morning I felt clearly the Lord telling me to remember the story of Balaam.
The story begins in Numbers chapter 22. The Israelites are camped by the river Jordan and Balak King of Moab became terrified (v1-3). For those curious Moab is where the modern-day country of Jordan is located. So he summons Balaam, who seems to have some sort of spiritual authority/ power. Not necessarily power given by God.
“….(v6) For I [Balak] know that those you [Balaam] bless, are blessed, and those you curse are cursed.”
Here Balak makes clear that he is summoning Balaam because he wants Balaam to curse the Israelites, in hopes that Moab will not be destroyed. So Balaam spent the night in prayer over Balak’s request and the God of Israel spoke to him that night. God tells Balaam not to curse Israel. The next morning Balaam sends Balak’s messengers back to tell Balak he can’t curse them. However Balak isn’t going to take no for an answer and sends more messengers (vs. 8-17)So again Balaam spends the night in prayer. God again comes to Balaam and tells Balaam he may go, but he is to obey God.
Now on a side note, I have been taught that many Jewish historians believe that Balaam is the great great nephew of Laban. That’s correct, his uncle is Leah and Rachel’s father. If you remember Rachel hid her father’s idols when leaving his home. Apparently these idols were objects that people could “divine” information from. Similar in the way people use magic 8 balls, or Ouiji boards. The objects were not little statues as one might think, and apparently spoke. The Jewish scholars believe that Rachel took them with her to keep her father from using them against her and her husband. So if these connects are true, then Balaam quite possibly would have knowledge of these practices and also through knowing of Rachel about the God of Israel.
So then the next morning Balaam set out on a donkey, but God was very angry. and set out an angel to stop him (v21-22). So why would God be mad a Balaam for going when He told Balaam to go? Remember men look at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart. So God must have looked at Balaam’s heart and saw that Balaam intended to curse Israel after all.
As Balaam goes on his journey the donkey is able to see the Angel of the Lord with his sword drawn and turns from the angel 2 times. Both times Balaam beats the donkey for what he believes is non-compliance or disobedience. The 3rd time the donkey sees the angel, he can’t turn away from the angel as there is nowhere to go. So the donkey lays down, once again trying to protect Balaam. Balaam becomes enraged, beating the donkey with his staff. The Lord opens the donkey’s mouth and the donkey asks why are you beating me? What have I done? (v28)
Now I don’t know about you but would have run if a donkey started talking to me like the horse from the Mr. Ed show. Yet remember Balaam is use to using objects (perhaps even animals) to divine information. In verse 29 Balaam responds to the donkey “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
Then later in v31-33 God opens Balaam’s eyes to see the angel. The angel informs Balaam he was going to kill Balaam if it had not been for the donkey. Yet (remember this part) he would have spared the donkey. Balaam repents and continues to Balak telling Balak that he will not curse Israel.
Now some Christian scholars believe that in the Bible the donkey is often a type of shadowing of the church. Ex. Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem is Jesus leading the church, heading to what will soon be His crucifixion making the redemption of the church possible. On a whim I decided to look up what the name Balaam means: foreigner or one without people. Next I re-read the story with these to things in mind and found something surprising. So let’s look at the story again and put in the type shadowing.
The foreigner, one without a people, is leading (ruling over) the church. In his heart he has decided to curse Israel on behalf of Moab (Jordan) despite what God has told him. God sends an angel to destroy the foreigner, yet the church sees the angel and makes the foreigner turn unwillingly from his present course. Both times the foreigner beats the church for what he sees as noncompliance with his demands. Finally a 3rd time the church sees the angel of God and can not turn away. So the church lays down (and in essence digs in its heels). Finally the foreigner begins to beat the church with his rule or law (staff). Yet God finally opens the foreigner’s eyes to see the angel that would have destroyed him, but spared the church. The foreigner repents (v34) and says to Jordan I can’t curse Israel.
Take of it what you will. But God admonished Israel (and we dear ones are grafted into the line of Israel) to remember Balaam and that journey. What I see is that God has in this story and in many others clearly states whatever happens, Israel will not be cursed. So fear not for Israel, however we are to be on the lookout and turn just as the donkey did. Pray for our leaders so that their eyes may be opened as well, so that they do not curse Israel. That doesn’t mean that our leaders will necessarily become saved. If you continue the story of Balaam, you will see that Balaam tries to get Israel to defile itself. Yet remember what the angel of the Lord said. He would have destroyed Balaam, but he would have spared the donkey (church). So no matter what happens, we may be beaten down, but God will not have us destroyed and He will not allow Israel to be cursed.