March 29, 2022

Blessing or Curse

Balaam, a pagan prophet, is one of the Old Testament's more interesting characters, and he gets mixed reviews. Sometimes he's a good guy and sometimes he's reviled. In Numbers 23, we find King Balak of Moab trying to get Balaam to curse Israel. When the ritual is performed as Balaam directs, God speaks to him. As a result, instead of cursing Israel, Balaam blesses Israel.
Not expecting this turn of events, Balak gets angry and points out that Balaam has done the opposite of what was asked.
Balaam answered, “Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?” 
Numbers 23:12
Disciples of Christ, when we are called upon to criticize, condemn, or curse those we disagree with, would do well to listen to the words of God that we find in the scriptures. We do find instances where Jesus is critical of oppressors and religious authorities. But the overwhelming message we find in the Bible is that we are a people of love, kindness, and blessing. If hateful words are found in our mouths, they were not put there by God. And so let me bless and not curse, affirm and not condemn.

We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.
 Acts 4:20
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
When I search my spirit, Lord, may I find there the love and kindness you have placed in my heart. And may the words that I speak be words of blessing on my family, friends, neighbors, and even my enemies.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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Text selection ©2021 Evangelische Brüder-Unität. All scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.