And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.” Numbers 22:4-6, ESV
For many of us, this is a familiar story. I remember learning of it as a child and mostly being taken by the names of the two primary characters: Balak and Balaam. What happens with Balaam is amazing indeed, but before we look at that, let’s consider these four introductory verses.
First, let’s see how greatly God blessed a grumbling and dissatisfied people! The Moabite tribes knew the story and they saw the evidence. God brought these people out of Egyptian slavery and granted them victories over their enemies. They had grown so numerous that the Moabites feared that they would consume all the natural resources, like grazing oxen. Balak was so afraid of their might that he enlisted a seer to curse them. God had made a covenant with Israel and God would not fail to be faithful. Though Israel had tested that covenant on more than one occasion, God’s hand of mercy had been accompanied by His hand of grace and they now stood as a people greatly blessed.
Second, we see that the enemies of God’s people are spiritual people and see this as a spiritual battle. The king of the Moabites himself sought the aid of a spiritual leader, Balaam, whose reputation was that of a man whose curses and blessings get results. Scripture gives us no reason to doubt that this reputation was well-earned.
It would be good for us to look at the introduction to this account as a template for understanding our own lives. As the new covenant people of God, we need to remember how greatly God has blessed us. Though we are frequent faithlessness, He is faithful. Whatever happens today, we enter into it as the blessed children of God. This should drive out all fear and doubt and self-pity, should it not? Additionally, we need to recognize, as Paul does, that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Until we understand the spiritual nature of our battles, we will never fight them well.
My prayer for you today is for wisdom: may you see yourself as a blessed child of God fighting battles in the heavenly places where God reigns supreme.