“Not, how much of my money will I give to God,
but how much of God’s money will I keep for myself?”

 John Wesley

TODAY’S READING: Numbers 21–22

God’s plan for human history as revealed in the Bible is to redeem for Himself men and women from every people group on earth. God enacted this plan by choosing an Iraqi immigrant to bless, promising that through his (Abraham’s) seed all the people groups on earth will be blessed. God warned Abraham’s descendants that blessing and cursing were indivisibly attached to His plan: to participate in God’s plan would be to receive blessings that we bless the nations and to reject or resist God’s plan would be to receive curses for our selfish disobedience. God blesses and curses according to the level we buy into His missions heart.

Balak was confused. He thought Balaam had the power to bless and to curse. An 8th century B.C. inscription from Jordan confirms that Balaam was a renowned prophet.[1] But the power to bless and to curse is not the proprietary power of prophets, but of Jehovah God. John York writes:

Though Balaam was a pagan soothsayer (Josh. 13:22), the Lord’s self-disclosure to him and the oracles he delivered are remarkable in their insight into God’s blessing upon Israel. This is especially significant in the light of the function of the blessing and cursing provisions of the Abrahamic covenant… Abraham was blessed that he might bless all nations. Had Balaam succeeded in cursing Israel, the nations would not have had the blessing of revelation even then being mediated to them through Israel, nor would they have had the hope of sharing in the blessing promised through the seed of Abraham, the Messiah. So in the attempt to hire Balaam, Balak king of Moab was challenging, albeit unwittingly, the entire promise plan of God.[2]

God will not allow His promise plan to be challenged. God’s plan will go forth and God’s invitation to all nations and peoples will be proclaimed, even if He must use donkeys to do it. Balaam doubly erred: He was willing to curse God’s people (and in effect curse all peoples of the earth), and he was willing to do that for money. This was so perverse to the Lord that He sent an angel to kill Balaam (Num. 22:22), and it was only one donkey talking to another that saved Balaam.

The sobering truth in this power is that God finds perverse any who would work against His plan to bless all nations, especially if selfish gain is part of the package. If we refuse God’s missionary call on our life to go and proclaim Him among all nations because we want to make money and live a comfortable life in our home country, we are perverse. If we hinder God’s missionary plan by the sin of omitting to sacrificially give to missions, if we give only from our excess, if our houses are built (and built and built) while God’s name among unreached places has nowhere to dwell, we are perverse. If we, stubborn as donkeys, refuse to speak up for Jesus among the unreached Arabs of Qatar, we are perverse. And if we are speaking up for Jesus among the unreached, we probably shouldn’t take much pride in that either. Rather, we should probably just remember that God has spoken through donkeys before.

[1] The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 174.

[2] John V. York. Missions in the Age of the Spirit. Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 2001. 31.

Prayer Focus: Qatar (13 UPGs)

Today’s Unreached People Group: Arab, Arabic Gulf Spoken
Population: 472,000
Language: Arabic Gulf Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.08%
Estimated Workers Needed: 9

[Source: Joshua Project]

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