and see that the Lord
is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him” (Psalm 34:8). Numbers 22-24 records for
us the story of the
wicked prophet Balaam and his encounter with Balak, king of Moab.
As the story goes, Balaam is
called to come and “curse” Israel
on behalf of Balak, so Moab
would not be harmed by Israel’s
conquest of the Promised Land. Balaam entreats the Lord, hoping for the
by which he could curse Israel.
Instead, he ends up bringing a blessing from God. In chapter 23, there
is a shocking
statement that Balaam makes about Israel.
In verses 13-24, he praises
God for all He has done for Israel
and concludes by this bold proclamation: “…It now
must be said of Jacob and of Israel,
‘Oh, what God has done’” (Numbers 23:23).
statement itself is not a
shocking one, as it is clear from Scripture that God deserved the
all of His work. However, it is shocking because of the mouth from
came. It didn’t come from the mouths of Israel
who should have known best
what God had done. Yet, it was wicked Balaam, who as an outsider, could
deny God’s presence with His people. It happened often in the
Balak called for Balaam because he was “…sick with
dread because of the
children of Israel”
(Numbers 22:3). He knew what their God could do. Before Israel conquered Jericho,
Rahab the harlot spoke of all God had done (dried up the Red Sea, etc.), and said that
when they heard of those things, “…our
hearts melted” with fear. All people around knew and were
fearful of God’s
power, everyone except Israel.
They should have known best, yet from the time they left Egypt until
destroyed about 1000 years later, rarely did they do anything but
rebel against God. What a sad story, but what a powerful lesson that
We often sing in the
hymn, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one. And
it will surprise
you what the Lord hath done.” The Scriptures are filled with
also. “Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of
God,” was the message
for Job (Job 37:14). From God Himself we have recorded, “Be
still, and know
that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In the context of that psalm,
the writer is
recording the many things God had done for Israel.
Sometimes, as we live in
such a blessed nation and society, it is easy for us to fall into the
as did Israel.
We become so conceited and self-involved that we forget to recognize
does for us each day. It would do us well to heed the words of the
count our blessings. It may very well surprise us what God has done.
time we take to “be still” and “consider
the wondrous works of God,” the more help
we would have in appreciating and understanding Him. What a shame it is
others to have to remind us how blessed we are! “Oh, taste
and see that the
Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him” (Psalm