This passage is the story of Balaam and Balak from the Old Testament. Balak was a king and he had heard about the children of Israel. This king saw them camped out and although they had not been adversarial to him, he wanted to get rid of them asap. He hired a man named Balaam to come and curse the children of Israel so that they would encounter destruction and be consumed. Balaam’s story is an interesting one but for our purposes, I want to draw our attention to a specific point in this story.
Balaam was not a righteous man. When he reached Balak he told this king that he would only be able to say what he heard Jehovah tell him to say, and nothing else. Balak agreed to this and Balaam began to speak. Much to Balaam’s surprise and Balak’s dismay, the only thing that God would allow Balaam to do was to bless the children of Israel. Not only would God allow ONLY blessings, but these blessings spoke to the nations identity as His people.
No matter how many times Balaam tried to curse them, he could only utter blessing. How does this apply to us?
I don’t know about you but I tend to be overly critical about myself. On any given day I can give you a list of my shortcomings and my failings in an instant. Ask me to list what my strengths and talents are and it takes me a little longer. What is ALWAYS on the forefront of my mind is what I need to change, make better, etc. In this story I see a perspective from God that has struck me: God did not talk to Balaam and Balak about the failings and shortcomings of the children if Israel, He spoke of who He saw them to be.
He didn’t say, “Well, they really messed up and were full of unbelief when I tried to take them into the promised land. And then they built a golden calf and worshiped that instead of me; and they are generally a complaining rebellious lot.” No. He said, “These are My people. I love them. I am their God. I have chosen to be identified with them. To lift them up. To stand in covenant with them. No one will mess with them because they are Mine and I have a future and a hope for them.” He never mentioned their failings.
We have a long memory of what we have messed up. But once I have repented, He forgets them as though they NEVER EXISTED. When He looks at me, He does not see me like I see me. He sees me through the eyes of the God who loves me, who has chosen me as His particular treasure. And He is unwilling to even allow my enemy to see where I have failed! How amazing is this love that He has for us!
My prayer for us today is that no matter where we find ourselves in this moment that God would help us to not see ourselves in the light of our failings or struggles, but that we would see ourselves in the light of His love and His power which is at work toward us who believe (Ephesians. 1:19). May we understand that He does not see us as we see ourselves, He sees us as we long to be seen.