The Book of Numbers – God is always our Defense

In my previous post God is at work for you, we were introduced to Balak and Balaam. Numbers 23 continues with the attempts of Balak to put a curse on the Israelites through the diviner Balaam.

The chapter begins with Balaam giving instructions to King Balak to build seven altars and make a sacrifice of a bull and a ram on each altar (verse 1). We saw in the last chapter; God speak to Balaam specifically instructing him to not put a curse on his people. Balaam here intends to appease God in the hope that he would change his mind. The motivation for Balaam was the monetary reward he was promised from Balak. Therefore, the seven altars and sacrifices on them was not God’s direction but Balaam’s self-interest.

Then the Lord put a message in Balaam’s mouth (verse 5). Balaam then goes to Balak and speaks his message.

Balaam’s First Oracle (verses 7-10), we will focus on a few of these verses.

 How can I curse
    those whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce
    those whom the Lord has not denounced?

10 Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number even a fourth of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
    and may my final end be like theirs!”

God’s plans and purposes cannot be thwarted

The words from Balaam’s first oracle tell us that Israel cannot be cursed because that is just not what God intends for them. In Job 42:2 we read Job speak to God saying, “I know that you can do all things and no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Amen! no purpose of God can indeed be thwarted. This truth fills me with hope and assurance in my today when life can feel so uncertain. Our steady rock and our firm foundation is our God, and in him our hope and security rests.

Desires and intended action

Balaam ends this oracle with the desire for his life to end like the righteous (verse 10b) but even as he speaks his desire, he does in no way seem to want to live righteously and if we follow his story further, we realise that he does not change in anyway.

For us: We might have desires too, to walk righteously, to grow spiritually, to let go of habits that do not align with obediently walking with God, to be free from sin that holds us back from living freely and fully in Christ. But how committed are we in following through with intended action to see those desires take on a spark and fuel our walk with God, to be who he has intended for us to be. Intended consistent action is never easy, the enemy is going to give his all to hold us back. But know, that when we sincerely try from our end and avail the power of the spirit in our journey, we can overcome. Don’t give up when you falter, persevere and the Lord will enable and empower you as you take a step each day to walk closer to Him.

A Different Perspective?

Balak then says to Balaam “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!” (verse 11)

Balak then takes Balaam to another place where he could see only the outskirts of the camp. It is as though Balaam’s perspective would change and therefore he would be able to curse them.  Notice that in the first oracle Balaam speaks of the number of people (verse 10a) and from the previous chapter we saw that Balak was terrified of the Israelites when he saw how numerous they were. Balak presumes that seeing only a small number of them might change Balaam’s perspective on the possibility of cursing them. Balak failed to understand the spiritual reality of God’s protection over them being their true shield and not their numbers.

Balak so badly wanted Israel to be cursed that he built seven more altars and made sacrifices on them. The Lord again meets Balaam and puts a word in his mouth.

Balaam’s second Oracle (verses 18-24), we will focus on a few of these verses.

19 God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

The unchanging nature of God

These words remind us of the unchanging nature of God. It reassures us to trust His word implicitly because he does not change his mind. It was not within Balaam’s power to curse the Israelites because it was not God’s will. Praise God that all things are under his control. The enemy may try various schemes, but God’s word and His will is unchanging.

As we take comfort and assurance from those verses, we are also to take caution as we look at verse 21

 “No misfortune is seen in Jacob,
    no misery observedin Israel.
The Lord their God is with them;
    the shout of the King is among them.”

No misfortune or misery is seen or observed within Israel, which means that the people although not perfect were not at that point walking in intentional disobedience to God. If we look back at Leviticus 26, we read of God’s promise of blessings to Israel if they follow His commands and the consequences of disobedience to Him.

We as people can lean towards focusing on the surety of God’s promise of blessings, overlooking the stipulation of being obedient to Him that God asks of us. And as we read Balaam’s oracle, we realise that God’s protection and blessing on Israel remained as they did not sever what God asked of them. And as God promised, if they were obedient, his protection would be over them. We see Balaam later make use of this and lead the Israelites into sin. This reminds us to always reflect and ask ourselves if it is our actions and choices that expose us to attacks from the enemy.

Lord, we thank you that you are our solid rock upon whom we can build our foundation. Thank you that you do not lie or change your mind. Help us to learn from Balak to not be spiritually blind to your power and presence and to learn from Balaam to not let greed rule our thoughts and actions. Lord God, may we rest in the truth of your faithful unwavering nature.  

God Bless.

21 thoughts on “The Book of Numbers – God is always our Defense

Add yours

  1. Thanks Manu💕What a wonderful reminder that God has our backs, our fronts, and our sides🤣 What a glorious, loving hedge of protection He is to us; so that no man may call us cursed when God calls us blessed. Bless You Sis, and may we continue to be faith-full and obedient to God, by the Power of His Holy Spirit!!

    Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side (Job 1:10)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Have you ever considered writing and publishing Bible studies, Manu? I find your posts to have so much insight and depth, and I’m always left with a lot to consider after reading them. You would produce some beautiful studies! I found myself saying amen alongside you about the fact that God’s plans cannot be thwarted. There is so much comfort in that! I also like what you wrote about desires and intended action. It reminded me of a verse that states that, if we slip, His hand will catch us (I’m sure I’ve badly misquoted it!). We surely will falter in our desire to draw closer to Him at times because we are weak humans, but like you state, He can empower us to keep taking steps closer to Him in spite of our weaknesses. We just need to depend on Him for that and keep desiring that and moving toward it. Blessings, my friend!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Colleen. I am considering it and I feel encouraged when someone like you shares that it would be something worth doing. Am so glad you connect with what I share. We are weak and we will falter but when our heart is in the right place even when we stumble he will catch us. He enables and empowers.
      Thank you Colleen. Love and hugs 🤗

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Manu. This is an encouraging reminder that, God’s plans cannot be thwarted by the enemy or anyone else. When things do not go as we expected, it is easy to forget this truth. But God has gone before us and He knows the plans He has for us. What a blessing! And I agree with Colleen, you should publish a book if God leads you too. Your Bible lessons are so helpful and applicable to our daily lives. Blessings 💛

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Hi Manu, Yes, the Lord is our steady rock, our firm foundation. We have encouragement and hope; because He keeps His promises and cannot be thwarted.
    You are great at taking bible passages; that are complex, explaining them and breaking them into understandable portions, and making them current. A book would be great! 💖🌷🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen 🙏🏽. We LwYs have hope and encouragement knowing that his plans and promises cannot be thwarted.
      Thank you Jeanne for your words of encouragement, it means a lot 🤗.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Praise the Lord our God. Great story and excellent follow on from the last post. Theses instalments have given me a lot to think about and a comforting reminder that we are the blessed of the Lord and that no one can curse us. God is too good to be unkind and he is our great defender. Bless you. 🙏🏾💗

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: