Seeing what Israel had done in battle against the Amorites, King Balak of Moab was afraid that his people were next in Israel’s strategy of intended conquests through the wilderness. Worried that his army was not able to withstand the onslaught, he sought supernatural help to oppose them.
Balak sent messengers with payment to the highly-regarded pagan prophet, Balaam, who had a reputation for releasing blessings or curses. If Balaam would call upon his spiritual resources and curse Israel, then perhaps Moab could drive them back and defeat them.
That night, God came to Balaam and warned him not to go with the men and not to curse Israel, because they were blessed. So he obeyed.
Balak tried again to convince Balaam to come curse Israel by offering to reward him richly. Again Balaam refused, but suggested the men wait until he could ask God again about the matter. That night, God gave him permission to go, but on the condition that Balaam only speak what God told him to say. When Balaam went, God was angry.
Some have wondered why? The fact that God had already given a definite “no” the first time should have been enough, but as it was, Balaam’s persistence won out.
As he went, the angel of the Lord stood in his path with a drawn sword ready to strike him dead. That would have been the end of the story except Balaam’s donkey could see the angel and moved away from him. This happened two more times as Balaam could not see the angel and thought his donkey was just being difficult.
After he arrived, Balak took him to the high places of Baal, so that he could see a portion of Israel. He began to speak blessing over Israel to the dismay of the Moabite king. Balak took him to another location and tried again. Before it was over, Balaam had prophesied blessing over Israel four times.
“… Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you.” (Num 24:9)
“Bless” – “to declare happy and prosperous, to speak well of”
“Curse” – “to revile, to make little or contemptible, to speak evil of”
Even a pagan prophet had enough sense to know better than to curse whom God had blessed!
Blessing and Cursing
In Mark 11, Jesus cursed the fig tree by saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” When the disciples saw it shriveled up the next day, Jesus taught that words produce change. Words are powerful.
“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” (Mark 11:23)
Since this is true, we are to be in agreement with what and whom He has blessed. Where God has commanded blessing, we are wise to adhere to what He has said.
“With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” (James 3:9-10)
Certainly this is an admonition to not curse men, but also,rather than be silent, we can choose to speak words of blessing to release greater blessing.
It is almost comical how in a moment of frustration, someone may curse their car or job or another person. Wouldn’t the smart thing be to speak life and blessing instead? If your car gives you trouble, it does not need to be cursed, but blessed!
Our words are often meant to be accompanied by action. We are blessed to BE a blessing!
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)
What do you say about yourself and your circumstances? Are you blessing yourself or cursing yourself?
Are you blessing people?
May we speak our blessing to echo His.
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)