I was so tempted to make my blog a commentary on the fact that God had to tell Israelite men to bury their business instead of leaving it around to stink up the camp. However, I decided to go for something a bit more refined.
In the chapter, this also caught my eye: "No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam... to pronounce a curse on you. However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.” (vs 3-5)
When I read this, I thought, did Balaam’s intention to curse Israel have any power? Any authority? He was just a guy standing on a hilltop, far enough away from the camp to see the whole thing. Even if he had been able to speak words that would "curse" Israel, would they have heard it? What difference would it have really made?
Well, obviously on some level, Balaam did have the power to curse Israel — either through himself or perhaps through Satan or other evil agencies that would have been happy to mess up what God was trying to do with His people — but his power was thwarted by God. God took the curse he intended and turned it into a blessing instead.
God takes curses and turns them into blessings. In the case of Balaam, He never even allowed Balaam to utter the curse in the first place. But what about Job? God allowed Satan to destroy nearly everything that was important to him: his family, his wealth, and his health. God allowed that. He didn’t protect Job from Satan’s curse the same way He had protected Israel from Balaam’s curse. So, this leads us to a truth that, for me, is sometimes hard to swallow. When the "curses" come, it is because God has allowed them to come. That doesn’t mean He has caused them. That doesn’t mean He wants them to happen. But it means that, for a variety of reasons, He sometimes allows the curses to come to us.
Ouch. I don’t know about you, but that can be a hard truth to face.
And that’s precisely why we have the story of Balaam (and others like it in the Bible) — so we will know that every curse that comes to us is turned into a blessing by our heavenly Father. One of the greatest examples I can think of right off the top of my head is the story of Joseph. Joseph was greatly cursed (it would seem). He was going to be killed by his brothers, but instead he was sold into a life of slavery, then falsely accused of sexual assault, and sent to prison and forgotten about... until the right time, that is. Yes, God knew just how to turn all of Joseph’s curses into blessings. He used them all to save Joseph, his family (including his naughty brothers), and the Egyptians. Wow!
So, are you under any curses today? Praise God — because, in the near future, those very curses are going to become some of His very best blessings to you! Just as He took the curse of being hung on a tree (Deut 21:23) and turned it into the greatest blessing the universe has ever known, so He can — in every circumstance — bless your life today.