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Vol.  10  No. 9 September 2008  Page 15
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Adam BlaneyOh, What God Has Done!

By Adam Blaney

“Oh, taste 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 message 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).

The statement itself is not a shocking one, as it is clear from Scripture that God deserved the praise for all of His work. However, it is shocking because of the mouth from which it 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 not deny God’s presence with His people. It happened often in the nation’s history. 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 they were destroyed about 1000 years later, rarely did they do anything but complain and rebel against God. What a sad story, but what a powerful lesson that should be learned!

We often sing in the beloved old 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 such encouragements 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 same trap as did Israel. We become so conceited and self-involved that we forget to recognize what God does for us each day. It would do us well to heed the words of the song, and count our blessings. It may very well surprise us what God has done. The more 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 for 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 34:8).

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