Blaine Robison, M.A.
Delivered 23 July 2016
God's Irrevocable Blessing
God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes his mind! Does He
speak and then not do it, or promise and not fulfill it? 20
Look, I received a command to bless. He has blessed—I cannot change it!"
NOTE: The spelling of "Balaam" in Christian versions is due
to the transliteration of the name found in the LXX, Grk. Balaam. His
name is pronounced BEEL'AM.
for today comes from Parashah 40, Balak, which began in the previous chapter
and concludes in chapter 25 [verse 9]. In this Parashah Balak the king of
Moab sent messengers 400 miles to the north to hire a pagan sorcerer by the
name of Balaam to curse Israel. The problem for King Balak was that he did
not have the military power to defeat Israel so he sought a supernatural
Apparently Balaam had a reputation for cursing and his skill could be
bought. The object of a curse was to hem in with obstacles, to render
powerless or to bring calamity. The first curse mentioned in the Bible is
the one God imposed on the Serpent for tempting Chavvah. Ever since then
Satan has been trying to retaliate by cursing God's people. Sorcerers
typically used an incantation for a curse, and this is what Balak expected
Balaam to do. However, after his arrival Balaam delivered seven discourses,
five of which directly concerned Israel. Our text is in the second
discourse. In those brief sermons God put the message in Balaam's mouth so
that only prophetic truth came out.
text Balaam announces that the God of Israel is not like human beings. He
doesn't lie and He doesn't change His mind. Moreover, Balaam says that God
had blessed Israel and no man can reverse it. The verb "bless" [Heb.
barak] lit. means to kneel or to bless, and for God to bless means that
He knelt down or humbled Himself to bestow special favor to the people He
chose. God's blessing on Israel is irrevocable. Many in the world want to
curse Israel, but they won't get any help from God.
We might wonder how Israel could be considered blessed at this point when
the adults who came out of Egypt were forbidden to inherit the Land because
of unbelief. The original promise to Abraham was that God would make him a
blessing to the world; God would give him numerous descendants, God would
bring the Messianic Seed through him; and God would give his descendants
possession of the Land of Canaan. At Sinai God blessed the nation by
affirming that the promises made to Abraham were still in force and then
instructed them in how to have a good life. God showed His care by providing
manna and sandals guaranteed to last forty years. Most important the
unbelief of the adults did not revoke the promised blessing for the
children. They would enter the Land.
Over and over in the Tanakh God promised that He would never forsake his
covenant of blessing with Israel. In fact, He declared that there is a
better chance of the universe blowing up than that He would renege on his
promises to Israel. Yet, for centuries Christianity worshipped a
promise-breaking God, claiming that God had permanently rejected Israel in
spite of biblical evidence to the contrary. Frankly, as a lay person I would
be a little concerned about that theology in my church. I mean, if God would
break His promise to Israel, how can I be certain that He will keep His
promise of the resurrection and eternal life to me? But, in reality God has
kept his promises to Israel, and therefore we can know He will keep His
promises that include Gentiles. The God I serve, the God of Israel, is a
Unfortunately the Parashah ends with tragedy. Following the advice of Balaam
Israel was seduced into the error of syncretism that resulted in a curse of
judgment and 24,000 dead. Syncretism is an important word for you to
understand. It means the union of opposite principles and practices. The lie
of syncretism is "you can commit the worst sins and still enjoy the favor of
God." Sadly the negative influence of Balaam did not end in the time of
Moses. Three of Yeshua's emissaries warned first century congregations about
the spiritual danger of Balaam's teaching [2Pet 2:15; Jude 1:11; Rev 2:14].
Ya'akov, the Lord's half brother, alluded to the problem when he wrote that
blessing and cursing should not come from the same mouth [Jas 3:10]. Or, put
another way sanctification and sin should not cohabit in the same person.
Yeshua came to destroy the works of the devil [1Jn 3:8], not to set up
housekeeping with him.
not changed. He has blessed Israel with every spiritual blessing in the
Messiah to be a light to the nations and that blessing has been passed on to
all the children of Abraham. As we remain faithful to our Lord and Messiah we can speak
that blessing into the lives of others.
Copyright © 2016 by
Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.