Num 23-25; Gal 4; Psalm 107:23-end
Yesterday we first encountered the story of the prophet Balaam and of course the famous talking donkey . . . a day later than the text it would be well to think of those who appear to be standing in our way, blocking a path we are set on. Perhaps because they unlike we see the angel of the Lord?
Following on we read of the encounter of the prophet with the King of Moab, who has called on the prophet to curse Israel. In the comedic sense written deep into the Hebrew mindset, we read of Balaam’s Blessing Israel over and over again.
In a sense both elements of this tail speak to us of the lack of our sight and how ridiculous we must often appear to God. God is intent on blessing – our sight is so narrow often we think to curse is only right and proper. Were not the whole business of Blessing and Curse be at its most fundamental level a matter of Life or Death, indeed we might laugh and see ourselves as ignorant infants or foolish sheep. Sadly we are foolish sheep who know not what we do – indulgent laughter cannot be an appropriate response.
Better perhaps to recognise that when the Boanerges ask Jesus, should they, like Elijah call down fire from heaven (hubris in the extreme – who IS like Elijah??), Jesus rebukes them. What must it be like to hear the rebuke of Jesus? It is not something of which we are called to think often, if at all. Before we curse, it might be well to imagine that rebuke.