Witnessing God’s Sovereignty and Faithfulness

Parashat Balak
Numbers 22:2-25:9
Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8

This week, we delve into Parashat Balak, found in Bamidbar (Numbers) 22:2-25:9, with the Haftarah reading from Micah 5:6-6:8. Named after Balak, the king of Moab, this portion tells the intriguing story of how he attempts to curse the Israelites by enlisting the help of Balaam. This narrative is rich with lessons about God's unwavering faithfulness and His ability to use anyone or anything to fulfill His purposes.

Balak, the king of Moab, is terrified of the Israelites who have settled near his land. In his desperation, he seeks out Balaam, a figure whose nature is debated—was he a prophet of questionable character or merely a magician? Regardless, Balak believes Balaam has the power to curse the Israelites.

Balak sends messengers to Balaam with this plea:

"Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed."
Numbers 22:5-6

This act reflects Balak's attempt to place himself in a position of power equivalent to God's, a move that inevitably leads to troubling consequences.

God directly intervenes, instructing Balaam not to go with Balak’s messengers:

"Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God."
Numbers 22:18

Despite this clear directive, Balaam’s greed and ambition drive him to seek permission from God repeatedly, hoping for a different answer.

Eventually, Balaam sets out to meet Balak, but not without divine intervention. God uses Balaam’s donkey to communicate His displeasure, a powerful reminder that He can use any means to achieve His purposes (Numbers 22:21-35).

Upon meeting Balak, instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam ends up blessing them, proclaiming:

"God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of a man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it."
Numbers 23:18-20

This powerful statement underscores God's unchanging nature and His faithfulness to His promises. Despite human intentions, God's will prevails, demonstrating His supreme sovereignty.

The Haftarah from Micah reinforces the theme of divine faithfulness and righteousness:

"My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab planned and what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, so that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD."
Micah 6:5

Micah then distills God’s requirements for His people:

"He has told you, mortal one, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love grace, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Micah 6:8

This passage calls us to reflect on our actions and motivations, urging us to live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Parashat Balak is a powerful reminder of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. It shows us that God’s plans are unstoppable and He can use anyone or anything to accomplish His purposes. As we reflect on these lessons, let us strive to align ourselves with God’s will, embracing justice, mercy, and humility in our daily walk with Him.

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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