But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12 NIV)
What we aren’t told can lead to our downfall. When Moab’s princes came to Balaam, son of Beor, seeking his curse on Israel, the priest could have educated them on how blessings and curses work. No money would have exchanged hands. Instead, he omitted this information eventually causing the Midianites’ destruction (Numbers 32) and also the death of 24,000 Israelites (Num. 25:9).
As quickly as the messengers’ purpose was made known, Balaam should have repeated God’s promise in Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Perhaps Balaam’s eyes were distracted by the princes’ large purse to recall what the Lord promised Abram. Even if that were the case, God reminded him in 22:12 (above) when he said, “…they [Abraham’s offspring] are blessed.”
Left out of God’s answer to the Moabite’s question was a vital bit of information on blessings and curses: Blessings were guaranteed for the people who blessed Israel, while curses were guaranteed for the nation that cursed God’s people.
The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s princes, “Go back to your own country, for the Lord refused to let me go with you.” (22:13)
No mention of God’s blessings. What followed in Numbers 22-24 was a courtship between the falling Balaam and his wealthy suitor, Balak.
Balaam should have listened when God spoke through his own mouth. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.” (23:19)
This weekend millions will watch candidates debate or file into churches with their offerings. For their investment most seek a blessing in return. Candidates or clergy alike are fully aware of the expectations. A false premise must be created (i.e. “Blessings and curses are controlled by men/women, thus they both can be purchased with money or good works.”). This is what is behind the forbidden sorcery or divination. The political and religious class omit facts from God’s Word that might slow or cut off the money stream.
God prophets are a different sort. They speak His Word exactly as it was delivered. Nothing relevant, good or bad, is omitted: Blessings for obedience; cursings for disobedience. They accept nothing that would compromise their message.
As one example, Christians should know blessings follow the Jewish people or Israel. The people or nation cursing Abraham’s seed, hating them or wishing them harm, are cursed (period)! Are church-goers aware that Jews are the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8) or do they wrongly think God has changed his mind? Why the antisemitism among some who claim they love Jesus?
If Balaam had cared about Moab, he would have surely warned them to change their heart attitude toward God’s chosen people, but he didn’t. His interests were self-serving. If our leaders side with Israel’s enemies, will we not all bear the consequences?
It ought to be a concern that so many depend on sources other than the Bible. Many Christians think the Law is irrelevant and the Prophets are to be dismissed as too angry or outdated. New Testament passages such as Matthew 24:9-10 and Luke 21:10-19 are explained away or ignored. If we are uninformed it is because we do not seek wisdom (James 1:5-7).
The warning sign flashes beside the road. If we fail to heed it, who’s to blame for the ensuing disaster? Not knowing God’s curses will mean an eternity of regret. What we don’t know can hurt us. Learn from Balaam: “Does he [God] speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Num. 23:19b)