“I know that those you bless are blessed, and those you curse are cursed.” Numbers 22:6 (NIV)
King Balak wondered, “What if God changed sides? What if instead of blessing the Israelites, their God were to curse them? That would tip the scales in my direction!”
But how could God be turned against His people? That’s when they sent for Balaam, who lived in the countryside four hundred miles away in a place called Pethor, near the Euphrates River.
He was not part of the community of Israel, but he had come to know the living God. When Balaam says, “the LORD speaks to me” (22:8), notice LORD is printed in capital letters. When LORD is printed like that, the Hebrew word is Yahweh, the special name by which God had made himself known to His people.
We do not know how Balaam came to know the Lord. God could have made Himself known directly to Balaam as He did to Moses. Balaam lived near Haran where Abraham had stayed, so it is possible that Balaam’s ancestors had learned about the living God from Abraham. They passed the faith down to their children, and 600 years later Balaam also knew the living God.
If that were true, Balaam would have known that God’s blessing was on these people. God had said to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse” (Gen. 12:3).
Not only did Balaam know God, but he had been given a remarkable spiritual gift. Balaam was a prophet who spoke the Word of God. King Balak knew his reputation. “I know that those you bless are blessed and those you curse are cursed (Num. 22:6, NIV). So Balak decides that Balaam is the man, and he sends out a delegation with a handsome check, to sign up Balaam’s services.
Why does God give His people spiritual gifts? How are you using yours?