February 28 | Daily Devotion

February 28 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?” ~Numbers 23:8

Because of her stubborn ways, Israel will wander in the wilderness for 40 years. However, God does not abandon His people, and they enjoy His blessing and protection. Enemies are defeated along the way, and renewal is provided in the desert. There is victory, celebration, and singing (Num. 21:17-18).

Having seen God’s blessing on the nation of worshippers, the Canaanite king Balak fears for his own kingdom.  He knows better than to take up arms, so instead he hires a famous religious man from the East to curse the people. Once on site, Balaam cannot find it within himself to curse the people. Again and again, to the king’s chagrin, Balaam blesses them instead! Such pronouncements made by famous seers were believed to have divine efficacy or power. Therefore, Balaam’s words, broadcast before the royal court and to the nation at large, demoralize the Canaanites. It’s difficult to muster an army for what appears to be a losing cause.

There is profound encouragement in today’s reading for God-worshippers of every generation. The key verse of the passage is found in Numbers 23: “How can I curse those whom God has not cursed?”(v. 8). One is immediately reminded of Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”God is determined to bless His people, and no amount of conniving by evil men gets in His way (Psalm 2). Even powerful adversaries who conspire against us are no match for God’s resolve!  So do not fear gossip, or threats, or the machinations of evil men. Trust ever to God’s promise to cause all things to work together for your good (Rom. 8:28). He can use even the sinful  plans of another to bless you as He did with Balak and the Israelites. That’s how amazing God is!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.