Ever been in a situation where you have watched someone try to something bad to you? Ever been in a situation where people are scheming against you for their benefit? Ever been in a situation where people were trying to get others to do something to you in order that they would benefit?
Is there anything you can do about it? In some cases we are totally unaware of what is going on! We may realize after the fact that the situation was happening, but during the time we were probably totally unaware.
God’s Word speaks to such plans in the case of Joseph and his brothers. God’s Word in today’s reading show another such case where an attempt at a cursing is turned around into a blessing…
A Curse Turns to Blessings
1Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 2So Balak did just as Balaam had said. Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering. I will go and perhaps Adonai will meet me. Whatever message He shows me, I will tell you. Then he went to a barren height. 4God met with Balaam and he said to Him, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I offered a bull and a ram.” 5Adonai put a message into Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak and speak this.” 6Balaam went back to him. Behold, he was standing beside his offering with all the princes of Moab. 7Then he uttered his oracle and said, “From Aram, Balak brought me, Moab’s king from the mountains of the east: ‘Come! Curse Jacob for me! ‘Come! Denounce Israel!’ 8How can I curse one whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce one whom Adonai has not denounced? 9From the rocky peaks I see him. From the heights I behold him. Look, he lives as a nation apart, and does not consider himself as being like the other nations. 10Who can count Jacob’s dust? Who can number a fourth of Israel? Let my soul die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!” 11Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you’ve actually blessed them!” 12But in response he said, “Mustn’t I speak whatever Adonai puts into my mouth?”
13Then Balak said to him, “Come now with me to another place where you can see a part of them only, not all of them. Curse them for me from there.” 14He took him to Lookout Field on top of Pisgah. He built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15“Stay here beside your offering,” he said to Balak, “while I am meeting over there.” 16Adonai met Balaam there and put a message into his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak and speak thus.” 17So he went to him, and behold, he and the princes of Moab were standing beside his offering. Balak asked him, “What did Adonai say?” 18So he uttered his oracle and said: “Rise, Balak! Hear me, son of Zippor! 19God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes his mind! Does He speak and then not do it, or promise and not fulfill it? 20Look, I received a command to bless. He has blessed—I cannot change it! 21No misfortune is to be seen in Jacob, and no misery in Israel! Adonai their God is with them —the King’s shout is among them! 22God is bringing them from Egypt with the strong horns of the wild ox! 23There is no sorcery effective against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel! Now it will be said of Jacob and Israel, ‘See what God has done!’ 24The people rise like a lioness, like a lion who does not rest until he eats his prey and drinks his victim’s blood!” 25Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them or bless them at all!” 26Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Haven’t I told you, ‘All that Adonai says, I must do?’
27Balak said to Balaam, “Come with me to another place. Perhaps it will be pleasing to God and you may curse them for me from there.” 28So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland. 29Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30Balak did just as Balaam said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
–from Numbers 23
God is in control – is for your benefit! Only what He allows can happen which means that there is more to the story! When it happened to me the first time, I wasn’t prepared and so I allowed bitterness and unforgiveness to win for a very long time and it caused a downward spiral to happen to the point where God was able to get my attention and speak truth and life into me through the song 7×70 which broke through and I started to forgive and the weight was lifted and I was walking in the freedom of God again. The next time, I forgave them immediately and started to plan for how to make things better! God had another plan and blessed me greatly! We all get to choose! We may not get to choose what happens to us but we do get to choose how we will respond! So choose wisely as it can impact your life more than you can imagine!
How Lovely the Tents of Jacob
1When Balaam realized that it was pleasing in the eyes of Adonai to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorceries as at the other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. 2Lifting up his eyes, Balaam saw Israel dwelling by tribes. The Ruach Elohim came over him. 3He uttered his oracle and said: “This is the oracle of Balaam son of Beor, and the oracle of a strong man whose eye has been opened, 4the oracle of one hearing God’s speech, one seeing Shaddai’s vision, one fallen down, yet with open eyes: 5How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, and your dwellings, O Israel! 6Like valleys they are spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by Adonai, like cedars beside the waters. 7Water will flow from his buckets, his seed by abundant water. His king will be greater than Agag , his kingdom will be exalted. 8God is bringing him out of Egypt. like the strong horns of a wild ox. He devours nations hostile to him. He will crush their bones. His arrows will pierce them. 9He crouches like a lion or a lioness— who would rouse him? He who blesses you will be blessed, and he who curses you will be cursed.” 10Then Balak became furious at Balaam, and struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but look, you have blessed them these three times! 11Now, go home! I said I would reward you, but see, Adonai has kept you from reward!” 12Balaam answered Balak, “Didn’t I indeed tell your messengers whom you sent to me saying: 13‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the mouth of Adonai, to do good or bad from my own heart? Whatever Adonai may speak, I will speak!’ 14Now, behold, I am going back to my people. Come, let me counsel you what these people will do to your people in the latter days. 15Then he uttered his oracle: The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the strong man whose eye is opened, 16the oracle of one hearing God’s speech, one experiencing Elyon’s knowledge, one seeing Shaddai’s vision, one fallen down, yet with open eyes: 17‘I see him, yet not at this moment. I behold him, yet not in this location. For a star will come from Jacob, a scepter will arise from Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab and the skulls of all the sons of Seth. 18Edom will be conquered— his enemies will conquer Seir, but Israel will triumph. 19One from Jacob will rule and destroy the city’s survivors.” 20Then he saw Amalek, so he uttered his oracle and said: “Amalek was the first of nations, but will come to ruin at last.” 21Then he saw the Kenite, so he uttered his oracle and said, “Your dwelling is secure. Your nest is set in the rock. 22Yet Kain will be destroyed, when Asshur captures you.” 23Again he uttered his oracle and said, “O, who can live when God does this? 24Ships will come from Kittim’s shore. They will afflict Asshur and Eber, but they too will come to destruction.” 25Then Balaam got up and went and returned to his own place, and Balak went on his way.
–from Numbers 24
God’s got gifts for you! He’s got a plan and a purpose for you! So get prepared and be prepared to receive and respond to all He has for you! And use the gifts and talents He has given you for something even greater!
Spiritual Gifts for the Body
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed by idols that cannot speak, and you got led astray. 3Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Ruach Elohim says, “Yeshua be cursed,” and no one can say, “Yeshua is Lord,” except by the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 4Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Ruach. 5There are various kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are various kinds of working, but the same God who works all things in all people. 7But to each person is given the manifestation of the Ruach for the benefit of all. 8For to one is given through the Ruach a word of wisdom, to another a word of knowledge according to the same Ruach, 9to another faith by the same Ruach, to another gifts of healings by the one Ruach, 10to another workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Ruach activates all these things, distributing to each person individually as He wills. 12For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of the body—though many—are one body, so also is Messiah. 13For in one Ruach we were all immersed into one body—whether Jewish or Greek, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Ruach. 14For the body is not one part, but many. 15If the foot says, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not part of the body,” is it therefore not part of the body? 16And if the ear says, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not part of the body,” is it for this reason any less part of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But now God has placed the parts—each one of them—in the body just as He desired. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20But now there are many parts, yet one body. 21The eye cannot tell the hand, “I don’t need you!” or in turn the head to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be less important are indispensable. 23Those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe with greater honor; and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty; 24but our presentable parts have no such need. Rather God assembled the body, giving more honor to those who are lacking, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but so that the parts may have the same care for one another. 26If one part suffers, all the parts suffer together. If one part is honored, all the parts rejoice together. 27Now you are the body of Messiah, and members individually. 28God has put into His community first emissaries, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then healings, helps, leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29All are not emissaries, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All do not work miracles, do they? 30All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak in tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And still I show you a far better way:
–from 1 Corinthians 12
We all have a part! We all need to do our part! We need one another! So don’t opt out of being everything God has created you to be! Not everyone will received us, but not everyone received Jesus too! So let’s just do what God puts in our hands to do in order to bring Him the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!
Responding to Rejection
1Now Yeshua went out from there, and He comes to His hometown, and His disciples follow Him. 2When Shabbat came, He began to teach in the synagogue. Many listeners were amazed, saying, “Where did this fellow get these things? What’s this wisdom given to Him? Such miracles are done by His hands! 3Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Miriam, and the brother of Jacob and Joseph and Judah and Simon? Aren’t His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. 4Then Yeshua began saying to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.” 5He was not able to do any miracle, except that He laid hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And He was astonished because of their unbelief. And He was going around among the villages teaching. 7Yeshua summoned the Twelve, and He began to send them out two by two. And He gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He directed them to take nothing for the journey except a walking stick—no bread, no bag, no copper coin in their belt— 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two shirts. 10He was also telling them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. 11And whatever place will not receive you or listen to you, as you leave from there, shake the dust off the bottom of your feet as a witness against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent, 13and they were driving out many demons and anointing with oil many who were sick and healing them. 14King Herod heard, for Yeshua’s name had become known. Some were saying, “John the Immerser has risen from the dead! Because of this, these powers are at work in Him!” 15But others were saying, “It’s Elijah!” Still others were saying, “It’s a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!” 17For Herod himself sent and arrested John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because Herod had married her. 18For John had been telling Herod, “It is not permitted for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19Now Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she wasn’t able. 20For Herod was in awe of John and kept him safe, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When he listened to John he was confused, but he still listened gladly. 21An opportunity came—when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his high officials, military brass, and the leaders of the Galilee. 22When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those reclining with him. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you!” 23He vowed to her, “Whatever you ask of me I’ll give you, up to half of my kingdom!” 24She left the room and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother said, “The head of John the Immerser!” 25Immediately she rushed to the king and requested, “I want you to give me, right now, the head of John the Immerser on a platter!” 26The king became very sorrowful; but because of his oaths and those reclining with him, he didn’t want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent an executioner and gave orders to bring John’s head. And the executioner went out and beheaded John in the prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29When John’s disciples heard, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Feeding 5000 Families
30The twelve emissaries gathered together with Yeshua, and they reported to Him all they had done and taught. 31There were many coming and going, and they had no time even to eat. So He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to an isolated place and rest awhile.” 32So they left privately by boat to an isolated place. 33However, the people saw them leaving, and many recognized them. They ran on foot from all the towns to get there ahead of them. 34As Yeshua came ashore, He saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He taught them many things. 35When it was already late, His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is isolated, and the hour is already late. 36Send these people away so they can go into the nearby countryside and the villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said to Him, “Should we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread to give them something to eat?” 38Then He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39Then Yeshua made them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they reclined in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41And He took the five loaves and the two fish; and looking up to heaven, He offered the bracha. He broke the loaves and kept giving them to the disciples to serve to the people; and He divided the two fish among them all. 42They all ate and were satisfied, 43and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and fish. 44Now there were five thousand men who ate the loaves.
Walking on Water
45Right away, Yeshua made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46After leaving them, He went up on the hillside to pray. 47And when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea and He was alone on the land. 48He saw the disciples struggling to row, for the wind was against them. Around the fourth watch in the night, Yeshua comes to them, walking on the sea; and He wanted to pass by them. 49But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought He was a ghost and cried out— 50for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately, He spoke to them. He said, “Take courage! I am. Do not be afraid.” 51Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped. They were utterly dumbfounded, 52for they still hadn’t understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.
53After they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and set anchor there. 54As they got out of the boat, immediately people recognized Yeshua. 55They ran about the region and began to carry around on their mats all those who were in bad shape, to wherever they heard He was. 56And wherever He entered villages, towns, or countryside, people were placing the sick in the marketplaces and begging Him to let them touch even the tzitzit of His garment—and all who touched it were being healed.
–from Mark 6