Daily Devotional Friday 18th September 2020

by William Moody

Numbers 23:27–24:9

27 And Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the desert.1 29 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Balaam’s Third Oracle

24:1 When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said,

  “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,2
  the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    falling down with his eyes uncovered:
  How lovely are your tents, O Jacob,
    your encampments, O Israel!
  Like palm groves3 that stretch afar,
    like gardens beside a river,
  like aloes that the LORD has planted,
    like cedar trees beside the waters.
  Water shall flow from his buckets,
    and his seed shall be in many waters;
  his king shall be higher than Agag,
    and his kingdom shall be exalted.
  God brings him out of Egypt
    and is for him like the horns of the wild ox;
  he shall eat up the nations, his adversaries,
    and shall break their bones in pieces
    and pierce them through with his arrows.
  He crouched, he lay down like a lion
    and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
  Blessed are those who bless you,
    and cursed are those who curse you.”


[1] 23:28 Or Jeshimon
[2] 24:3 Or closed, or perfect; also verse 15
[3] 24:6 Or valleys


Balak doesn’t give up but decides to have another go at having Israel cursed (v27-30). The persistence and foolishness of evil is here seen.

Despite the many flaws in Balaam, he did have an understanding that God has to be approached through a sacrifice for sin (v29). In all this, Balaam is learning about God and His ways (v1).

This third oracle begins with Balaam expressing awe at God’s greatness (v3-4). He moves on to speak of Israel’s tents being beautiful (v5), of how they will be fruitful (v6-7) and how their king will be great (v7b). This was at a time when Israel still had no king. The strength of Israel is again highlighted (v8-9). There is an echo of words first spoken to Abraham, those who bless them will be blessed and those who curse them will be cursed (v9b, Genesis 12 v3).

Those in Christ are secure and nothing will separate them from the love of God in Christ (see Romans 8 v37-39).

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.