Monday, May 23, 2011

Numbers: Chapter 24

These chapters have remained a struggle for me; my understanding is not my own--only what I can glean in the commentaries.  We see this chapter open with Balaam seeming to realize God is on the side of the Israelites.  He doesn't even attempt say anything other than blessing for that is God's desire.  It is thrilling to realize that the parallel truth for us as Christians is that no one can accuse for in Jesus there is no condemnation.

I suspect my great difficulty with these chapters is a resistance to my suspicion that Balaam will have a God-less eternity.  I cannot fathom a man who is given such insight into God refusing that very God.  The prophesy this chapter closes with is a prophesy we contemplate every Christmas.  He is being granted the glorious privilege of sharing a prophesy about Jesus Christ.  Yet at the end of the chapter, scripture says 'Balaam returned to his place.'  The commentary gives the heart-breaking comment that such phrasing is used for only one other individual in scripture:  Judas.  We will be hearing more of Balaam...tomorrow will give us a glimpse of another activity of his--but there is no hope in anything I can find of Balaam.  My heart aches for the Balaams of today who glimpse the God of Hope and return to darkness.  I'll close with the same plea for all of us--may we learn for the error of Balaam and not go in his way.

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