Blessing: That which I cannot change

The last couple of days during Daily Prayer I've been covering the story of Balaam being hired to curse the Israelites (Numbers 22 - Numbers 23).  This story is fascinating to me on many different levels but one strain has captured my attention for the last few days.  The strain being the fact that God wanted to bless Israel because they were His and He would not allow them to be cursed.

Based upon the descriptions from the text, the setting has the Israelites spread out on a plain and it sounds like the Moabites are able to view them from above.  From this vantage point, Balaam is paid to curse them, but God doesn't allow it.  He turns the plans to curse into blessings.  Meanwhile, the Israelites have no idea that this is happening and yet God is putting them in the palm of His hand and He is protecting them.

While they meander below in the dailyness of life, God is making sure that blessings and not curses are spoken over them.  Here are a few verses that stand out to me:

Numbers 22:8
How can I curse
    those whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce
    those whom the Lord has not denounced?

Numbers 22:19-20
19 God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

This story has inspired me in my own personal prayer life.  Often times my prayers can focus on people's sin and me "helping God" figure out what He needs to do to help those people turn to the right way.  However, through the years, God has gently pulled me from this perspective and has continued to lovingly invite me to a new method of praying for others.  For me, these passages point towards an invitation towards a renewed perspective.

The call on Abraham's life was that he would be a blessing to the nations.  As Christians, we've been invited to extend that call to the nations by being the hands, the feet and the spirit of Christ to this world.  Like Balaam, I think that we've been invited to pray blessings over His people's lives, without them even needing to know that it is happening:

 I have received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

Oftentimes the reality of God's call for our lives seems lofty, ethereal and unrealistic for our daily life.  But I think that may be because we make things harder than they need to be.  We have been called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves.  And who are our neighbors? Whomever, God has put into your sphere of influence.  From that simple place of reality ask the Lord to teach you how to pray blessings over your neighbors, whomever they may be.


In Christ,

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