In the verse above, Balaam understood that he could only curse those that God allowed him to curse; however, although he was keenly aware of the limitations of his spiritual authority, he attempted to use his divine gift as an oracle, for his own profit, prestige, honor and wealth. All perfectly fine, until he decided to use his gift in opposition to God.
When Balak, king of the Moabites, summoned him to come to Moab to curse Israel, Balaam makes an appeal to God to learn if he can curse the Israelites. Although God tells him not to go to Moab and that he cannot curse the Israelites; he openly disobeys by attempting to go to Moab anyway. By the time he has the encounter with the angel, armed with a sword to stop him dead in his tracks, he repents--sorta-kinda.
Like us, Balaam tries to find another way around God’s response to his query, because, the promise of the king’s wealth is much too profitable a lure to resist. In his repentance, God allows him to go to Moab, but tells him he will only be able to say what He tells him to say. Nevertheless, by the time Balaam meets with the Moabite king, he is ready and willing to curse the Israelites on behalf of the king.
King Balak takes him to the top of the mountain where he can see the encampment of the Israelites on all four sides of Moab; east, north, south, and west. They build seven altars, and offer sacrifices to curse those seen in the east. But instead, God speaks through Balaam, blessing the Israelites in the east. Balak takes Balaam to the part of the mountain where he can see the north; he builds seven more altars, and offers sacrifices to curse the Israelites in the north. And again, God speaks through Balaam, blessing the Israelites in the north. This is repeated for the Israelites seen from the west. And again, God speaks through Balaam and blesses the Israelites. To make matters even worse for King Balak, Balaam then faces the wilderness, a direction where there are no Israelites encamped at all, and there, he foretells God’s vision of the Israelites exalted over the entire kingdom. Balak realizes that there isn't anywhere that the eye can see where God’s people will not be blessed. And so, he prophesizes the grandeur of their nation over the land and the surrounding people.
You can imagine how angry King Balak was with Balaam for his inability to enact a simple curse against God’s chosen nation. However, the most important lesson for modern-day Christians is simple. As God’s beloved and blessed, YOU, who have chosen to give your life and love to Jesus Christ, are divinely blessed. No one can curse, enchant, destroy, or erase the blessings that God has placed upon you. No one! Here's what we learned from Balaam's very own lips:
“God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent; hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless, and He hath blessed, and I cannot reverse it!” (Numbers 23:19-20)
God’s blessing cannot be taken away, reversed, destroyed, or erased! Take refuge in knowing that whomsoever God has blessed is truly blessed indeed! L.
Study Reference: Numbers Chapters 23 through 24
From: “Blessed Indeed!” In The Master’s Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell