Christ Had to Die – Part 47

Blessing instead of Cursing…

Last time, we saw that the preceding presence of God’s people–Israel–was going before them on their arduous journey to Canaan. As a result, there was fear struck in the heart of the Moabite King, Balak, and he sought refuge in a pagan diviner, Balaam. The protection Balak sought was to bring a curse upon Israel. However, God’s power was moving ahead, and His presence was known in and through His people. Nevertheless, Balak’s plan pushed forward, and he began to position himself and Balaam to bring about their destruction.

“Then it came about in the morning that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, and he saw from there a portion of the people.”
Numbers 22:41

God’s people were on the move, and their distant kinsman–now enemy–was also on the move attempting to gain his post against them. Mind you, all indications point to the fact that Israel does not see this happening. They do not see what is going on ahead of them–the danger, the trap, and the malevolence that this king and his people have for them. They are not seeing the fear mounting in Balak, the miracle of the donkey and the angel, nor what is about to happen next. God’s people were simply moving forward with what they can see. They were instructed by their leader, Moses, to journey on despite all the potential danger. Sinai–where the Law was received–was in their rearview mirror, and their faces were set to the land flowing with milk and honey. Sure they faced dangers, sure they faced heartache and judgment, but it wasn’t time to dwell on those things. Their focus was on obedience, and their direction was forward, never mind the Moabite king, Balak, and his pagan diviner, Balaam. They had the Law, they had God, and their focus was God’s promise.

And then there was Balak with Balaam–building their altars to bring their curses against God’s chosen. Their plan was hatched, and they were executing it flawlessly to the potential detriment of Israel…

“Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a bare hill.”
Numbers 23:3

And so, they waited to hear from God. Israel is unaware, and they have no idea what is about to happen next…

“Then the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth… “From Aram Balak has brought me, Moab’s king from the mountains of the East, ‘Come curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!’ “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced? …Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!”
Numbers 23:5, 7-8, 11

Balak is in shock, because his plan to destroy Israel through cursing is backfiring. Instead of cursing, they are receiving blessing. Nevertheless, Balak continues toward cursing them, and they build more altars of sacrifice to make this happen. But God speaks again, and Balaam delivers the message to Balak…

“Behold, I have received a command to bless; when He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it. “He has not observed misfortune in Jacob; nor has He seen trouble in Israel; the Lord his God is with him…”
Numbers 23:20-21

Blessing instead of cursing. Amazing. Israel has no clue that God is working on their behalf through a pagan diviner to bring blessing upon them. And so it is with God, and this is yet another reason why Christ had to die…

How Does This Apply To Us Today?

First, God has removed the curse of the Law from you…

Because Christ became cursed on the cross in order for you to be justified–blessed–before God by faith, you therefore have the promise of never being cursed again when you fail to keep God’s Law.

Second, God has removed the sting of death from your future…

Because Christ was resurrected from the grave, which conquered sin and death, you therefore have the promise that when you die you will instantly awake to eternal life with God awaiting your resurrection body.

Third, God has bound Satan from ever laying hold of you again…

Because Christ lived the perfect life, you therefore have the promise that your faith in His finished work on your behalf means that Satan cannot ever conquer you again.

How should you respond?

Obedience. God hasn’t left us to ourselves and our own wisdom to navigate the potential danger, traps and malevolence ahead of us. No, no, He has given us His Word, which lines out how we should move through this life of suffering, of joy, of heartache, of pain, of happiness, of triumphs, and of tragedies, and He has indwelt us with His Spirt, which convicts, comforts, and calls us to a life of confession. We have all we need to know to walk faithfully in this world. And that’s enough. We have His Word, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, and so we obey. We take the high ground, and we trust God. No man, no diviner, no enemy can bring cursing upon us. God has gone before us, and as a result of Christ’s work on our behalf, we are blessed!

God moves to bless His chosen instead of allow curses to fall upon them. Does that mean that you won’t face hard times? Of course not. But your eternal (1) destination is secure, (2) rewards are yet to be received, and (3) fellowship with God is now and forever. Glory. God goes before us, works on our behalf, and ensures blessing instead of cursing!


— December 15, 2017