Today I’d like to share with you the story of Balaam and Balak from Numbers 22-25. King Balak can see the Israelites stretched out across the country side and it strikes fear in his heart. He’s heard the stories of everyone else going up against these armies and getting squashed like bugs… and he could be next! So in his fear he summons Balaam, a local soothsayer with a reputation for successful blessings and curses. Balak sends several elders of Moab and Midian to deliver his message to Balaam. When they get there Balaam consults the LORD and asks if he should go or not. God tells him “no”, and he sends them all away. So Balak sends a group of princes heavy with treasure to ask Balaam again. He inquires of the LORD again, this time God says “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.” (22:20) So Balaam goes with them, has an incident with his donkey on the way that we’re going to skip over because it doesn’t apply directly to my point today. Anyway, he gets to Balak and explains “I can’t say just anything. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.” (22:38) Then they go up, sacrifice some bulls, Balaam has a pow wow with God alone and then returns to Balak with God’s message in his mouth.
Now Balak hired Balaam to curse the nation of Israel because the Moabites were afraid of what the Israelites would do to them. But when Balaam came down from meeting with God all he could do was bless Israel! Balak said furiously “What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!” and Balaam answered “Must I not speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?” (Numbers 23:11-12) But Balak, not being one to give up easily took Balaam to another spot where he could see the Israelites, perhaps he could curse them from a different view. Exasperated sigh… so, from a different angle they present their offering, Balaam went off by himself to receive the LORD’s message and then returned to deliver my favorite of Balaam’s FOUR blessings to Israel:
“Arise, Balak, and listen; hear Me son of Zippor. 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 can not change it. No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The LORD their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them. God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, see what GOD has done! The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till he devours his prey and drinks the blood of his victims.” (Numbers 23:18-24)
Blessings from the LORD are irreversible! No one can curse what God has blessed, no sorcerer can be against it, no divination can break it, nothing or no one can reverse what God has blessed. My friends I pray that you’re catching my drift on this one, but in case you’re not, let me make it a little more plain. As a child of God you have been adopted into this family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You may be a branch that has been grafted in, but you’re still part of this family tree! Every word of blessing that God used Balaam to speak over the house of Israel, he was speaking over you too! God Himself has spoken His blessings over you and your life! Hallelujah! And what God has blessed the Enemy can NOT curse! Oh can I get a praise the LORD from the choir on that one?!?
However, this is unfortunately not where our story ends for the day. Because although no one else can remove God’s blessing from your heads, you can. According to Numbers 31:16 Balaam gave Balak some parting advice. Balak couldn’t beat them with might, and Balaam couldn’t curse them because of their blessing, but they could ensnare the Israelites to remove the blessing from themselves. Although nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39), we can separate ourselves from that love, by the choices we make. God has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), but we can certainly make the choice to turn our backs and leave Him.
So, what advice did Balaam leave with Balak? Sex. He suggested that the Moabite women go and seduce the Israelite men – drawing them not only out of covenant with their wives but also out of covenant with their God. In Deuteronomy twenty-eight when God lays out the laws of blessing and cursing He prefaces the blessings with “IF you carefully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you IF you obey the LORD your God:” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2) and He prefaces the list of curses (which is easily twice as long as the blessings) with “However, IF you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and over take you.” (Deuteronomy 28:15)
IF, is a very strong word. It may be a small word, at only two skinny letters, but its a mighty one that packs a punch. IF you obey, you are blessed and IF you do not obey… well… then you’re not blessed. And believe it or not, it is completely possible to be blessed in many areas of your life and still be cursed in others. Your disobedience to the laws of God (love your neighbor as yourself) brings havoc and heartache, period. And the disobedience that brings the most havoc and heartache? Sexual immorality – adultery, porn, homosexuality, bestiality, you name it! And the worst part is, it’s not just physical sexual immorality that brings curses, it’s spiritual sexual immorality too! How many times in the Old Testament did the LORD refer to the nation of Israel as an adulterous nation? A LOT! As a nation, they were following the physical rules and yet their hearts had been led astray! They had allowed other things to get between their God and themselves. God’s flow of blessing is permanent, it can not be broken or stopped, but it can be redirected when you put up blessing blockades between yourself and God when you sin.