Balaam the diviner is called to curse the people of God. This was a routine business arrangement for the prophets in a day when everyone believed in the power of words to influence events. Instead of cursing however, Balaam blesses to the anger of king Balak.
When Balaam arrived in Moab, King Balak greeted him. Together, they offered sacrifices of bulls and rams in order to secure backing from the spirit world for the curse of Israel. However, the Lord intervened and each time Balaam prophesied, he pronounced a blessing on Israel instead of a curse. After three attempts from three different locations, Balaam was able only to pronounce blessing on Israel and not a curse. Balaam, listening to human temptation and is willing to push God to change his mind.
How often have we been tempted to bargain with God for things we knew weren’t in His will? How often has the will of God been clearly stated in Scripture only to be tempted to look for a loophole? Yet, God does not go back on his Word. Balaam’s donkey proves this point. Lent is a season of seeking after God. Where do we find Him, His will, His ways? They are clearly marked in Scripture. Our challenge is not only to discern the will of God but also to follow it after it has been made know to us in the clear teachings of His Word.
Almighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor You with all we own, always remembering the account we must one day give to Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS
Collect for the proper use of wealth, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis