I don’t know if you’ve got any enemies? I have a lot of friends but there have been people who oppose me – and one in particular has been a pain for a number of years.
I forgive, time and time again. Things seem to get better and it goes quieter, then another salvo.
Behind this person, I see that I’m not wrestling against flesh and blood. Here is someone being used by the devil to try to distract me from God’s good purpose. They themselves are desperately miserable as a result – because even while they try to curse me, as a chosen child of God, he turns it into a blessing every time!
You may know that happened in the bible? Numbers 22 & 23. A guy called Balaam was more interested in money than following God. He was paid, as a Jew, to curse God’s people. The king of Moab (Moab is a type of the flesh) who’s name is Balak (he’s like the devil) fears God’s people but God makes it clear to Balaam that he is not to curse those whom God has blessed.
He goes anyway – but on his way to curse Israel, Balaam’s donkey stops and refuses to move. The donkey can see an angel blocking the way which the man can’t see. A conversation results between man and donkey! (This is good news for us preachers- if God can use a donkey to speak…)
Finally, Balaam reaches his destination – and Balak shows him God’s people encamped. He perfoms sorcery and sacrifices then opens his mouth to curse Israel -but he blesses them instead! “How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?”
King Balak is furious! “I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!” He takes Balaam to a place where only part of the people can be seen (divide and rule! An age old strategy). The enemy always wants to point out any weak spots or division in us doesn’ he? Now surely there’ll be a curse? He tries again:
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it.
Finally Balak takes him to a place where he can only see the rubbish of the camp. (Anyone eager to point that out in your life? Guess who sent them!). It must be easy to curse when all you can see is the negative.
“How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel”
Uh-oh thinks Balak! ‘ This isn’t going well….’
Like valleys stretching out in the distance, like gardens planted by rivers, Like sweet herbs planted by the gardener God, like red cedars by pools and springs, Their buckets will brim with water, their seed will spread life everywhere.
“May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!”
Parts of Balaam’s blessing (Ma Tovu) now form part of the daily Jewish morning service. They turned it around! Isn’t God great? May those who bless you be blessed today. And may all who would curse you have Balak’s frustration – as God blesses you anyway!