Balaam’s Second Prophecy
King Balak has responded to the cries of his people. They were “sick with dread” because of Israel (Numbers 22:3). He comes up with a brilliant plan to defeat this seemingly unstoppable nation. Recognizing his inferior position, Balak realizes to gain the upper hand, Israel must be cursed. He employs Balaam, the best known diviner of the time, to call down the curse upon the warrior nation. Balaam opens his mouth to curse Israel but a blessing comes out instead.
Numbers 23:13-26 records King Balak’s second demand for a curse against Israel and the end result. Let’s look at verses 18 through 24.
Then he took up his oracle and said:
“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.
“He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
The LORD his God is with him,
And the shout of a King is among them.
God brings them out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox.
“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!’
Look, a people rises like a lioness,
And lifts itself up like a lion;
It shall not lie down until it devours the prey,
And drinks the blood of the slain.” (NKJV)
In this second word from God Balaam says, Balak you want God to change His mind and curse Israel, but you don’t know God! You know nothing of His nature. God is not a man. God does not lie. God is not a man (said again for emphasis). God does not change His mind (repent). God does what He says He is going to do. I told you the first time that God has blessed Israel, why do you expect it to be different this time?
Next Balaam explains to King Balak his modus operandi in verse 20. The God who never changes His mind has commanded me to bless Israel. I can’t reverse this command from God.
Furthermore King Balak, Balaam explains, there is no legal precedent for a curse upon Israel. God has not “observed iniquity in Jacob nor has He seen wickedness in Israel”. Hold it a minute! Are we talking about the same Jacob and the same nation Israel? There’s a laundry list of Jacob’s sins. Maybe chief among his sins was stealing the birthright from His brother. Wasn’t that iniquity? You haven’t seen wickedness in Israel? What about the golden calf, don’t you consider that wickedness?
God dealt with Jacob’s sin and Israel’s wickedness. God judged the sin of both Jacob the man and Israel the nation. The Holy one of Israel then applied atonement (complete covering). Strangely, atonement may not affect how we see the individual. In contrast atonement changes God’s perspective. God does not see the sin, He sees the individual as covered by the blood where atonement has been applied.
It is important to realize that God never ignores sin. Sin demands payment. Remember Romans 6:23?
“For the wages of sin is death….” (NKJV)
Thankfully the verse doesn’t end there. It goes on to tell us “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NKJV)
King Balak, Balaam continues, there is something else you need to know. “The LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them (verse 21).” You are asking God to curse Israel, but He is down there among them. And “…the shout of a King is among them.”
What’s the shout of a King? It’s a battle cry! Israel, by God’s command is in battle mode.
Verses 23 through 24 inform us that God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. There is no divination or sorcery that can be applied to a people God has put under His protection. He enables His people to utterly conquer. Do you view yourself as a conqueror?
King Balak was attempting to separate God from the nation of Israel so he could destroy them in battle. God very clearly declared Israel to be His people, under His protection, poised to accomplish His will.
God never changed His mind about Israel, and He has never changed His mind about you. What God says He will do, whether through Israel or through you, He will do. Trust in God’s word and wait patiently for Him to do what He has promised.