Saturday, October 25, 2008

When God has blessed....

God's blessings always prevail. It is the light that dispels the darkness and the good that overcomes evil. Yet the idea of the power of cursing continues to seduce the minds of man everywhere.

It's perplexing that so many people find it so easy to resort to the powers of darkeness and evil for help. And somehow it seems so difficult to convince them that exceedingly greater is the security and safety God provides freely. It seems to be the tendency of humans to embrace illusions.

But it is even more daringly presumptuous when some think that they can conjure up curses that can diffuse the power of God's blessings.

The Bible tells of such a man who hired a sorcerer to curse a people God had blessed so that he could defeat them. He was Balak, king of the people of Moab. He became intimidated by the might of the people of Israel. He sent for Balaam a sorcerer, who was well known among the nations around. He urged Balaam, "Please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed" (Numbers 22:6).

In this account the Bible gives us an interesting insight into who really has the authority and power to bless and curse. King Balak sent his emissaries to Balaam with "the diviner's fee" up front. When they got to Balaam's home they delivered the King's message. Balaam's immediate reply to them was "Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me" (Numbers 22:8).

Balaam was unashamedly acknowledging his helplessness in the craft that he was well-known for and was declaring only God indeed has the supreme power to bless and curse.

Balaam did not receive permission from the Lord to go to King Balak and he informed the King's emissaries. The King would not accept Balaam's refusal and sent more influential emissaries to persuade Balaam to come and curse the people of Israel. Balaam eventually conceded but not without informing Balak's emissaries that "though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more" (Numbers 22:18). Balaam the sorcerer was admitting the truth that no man can curse.

Even when Balaam arrived in the city of Moab and was brought before the King he again asserted to the King "Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak" (Numbers 22:38).

King Balak, however, convinced that Balaam the sorcerer could have cursed the people of Israel for him, insisted that Balaam proceed with the sorcery. Balaam complied with the King's request only to return to the King in despair afterwards with what became the well-known oracle declaring the futility of human sorcery: "Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, from the mountains of the east. 'Come, curse Jacob for me, And come, denounce Israel!' How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced" (Numbers 23:7-8)?

To the King's astonishment instead of cursing the people of Israel Balaam went on to pronounce blessings upon them. "What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!" King Balak said. To this Balaam replied, "Must I not take heed to speak what the Lord has put in my mouth" (Numbers 23:11-12)? Yes, indeed! No man can curse.

But King Balak, like many today, still could not be convinced that no sorcerer, even one as prominent as Balaam, had power to curse. He therefore insisted that Balaam try again. Balaam did, but again came up with even a sterner statement of God's supreme power and authority to bless and curse. "Rise up, Balak, and hear! Listen to me, son of Zippor! God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.... For there is no sorcery against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, 'Oh, what God has done!'" (Numbers 23:18-23).

Both Balaam and King Balak eventually gave up on the futility of the practice of sorcery against the people of Israel and realized that no man can curse whom God has not cursed. When God has blessed you, there is neither sorcery nor any divination that can prevail against you.

Read the book by G.A.N. James, The Myth of the Generational Curse (Xulon Press, 2007).

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