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Curses to Blessings: Further thoughts on Balak...

Curses to Blessings...

Further thoughts on Parashat Balak

by John J. Parsons
www.hebrew4christians.com

[ In our Torah portion this week (Balak), we read how Balaam intended to curse the Israelites, but God "took hold of his tongue" and made him bless the people instead... ]

God can turn curses into blessings...  For example, Joseph was blessed despite the ill-will of his brothers: "You devised evil against me, but God devised it for good" (Gen. 50:20). Note that the same verb for "devised" (i.e., chashav: חשׁב) is used to describe both the evil intent of the brothers and the good intent of the Lord. This teaches us that God overrules the malice of men to effect his own good purposes, and therefore we can rightfully affirm gam zu l'tovah (גַּם זוּ לְטוֹבָה), "this too is for good" (Rom. 8:28). Underlying the surface appearance of life (chayei sha'ah) is a deeper reality (chayei olam) that is ultimately real, abiding, and designed for God's redemptive love to be fully expressed. Resist the temptation, therefore, to judge by mere appearances. Forbid your troubles to darken the eye of faith. Do not unjustly judge God's purposes or try to understand His ways. As the story of Balaam shows, God makes even the wrath of man praise Him (Psalm 76:10). "Then God opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD (מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה) standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down..." (Num. 22:31). Indeed, every knee will bow to the LORD our God and Savior (Isa. 45:22-23; Phil. 2:10-11).
 

פְּנוּ־אֵלַי וְהִוָּשְׁעוּ כָּל־אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ
כִּי אֲנִי־אֵל וְאֵין עוֹד
בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי יָצָא מִפִּי צְדָקָה
דָּבָר וְלא יָשׁוּב
כִּי־לִי תִּכְרַע כָּל־בֶּרֶךְ תִּשָּׁבַע כָּל־לָשׁוֹן

pe·nu · e·lai · ve·hiv·va·she·u ·kol ·af·sei ·a·retz
ki · a·ni · El · ve·ein · od
bi · nish·ba·ti · ya·tza · mi·pi · tze·da·kah
da·var · ve·lo · ya·shuv
ki · li · tikh·ra · kol · be·rekh · ti·sha·va · kol · la·shon
 

"Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
"To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance"
(Isa. 45:22-23)



  

We find comfort that the schemes of the wicked are subject to the sovereign purposes of the LORD our God. Ein od milvado (אֵין עוֹד מִלְבַדּו) - there is no power that can be exercised apart from God's consent and overarching will... Indeed all authority on heaven and earth belongs to Yeshua, the "the Ruler of the Kings of the earth" (עֶלְיוֹן לְמַלְכֵי־אָרֶץ). As it is written, "All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name" (Psalm 86:9).

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