Balaam’s Oracle Concerning Israel

This meditation is based on a passage for July 2, 2010 in the Daily Lectionary Year 2 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: Numbers 24:1-13

Reflection and Question: As we have seen before, the Bible has many conflicting messages within it. One of these is the conflict between God as the exclusive God of Israel — even to the point of ordering horrible violence against Israel’s enemies — and God being the creator of all peoples. This passage supports the inclusive power and nature of God. Balaam is a seer who lives hundreds of miles from where Israel is encamped, ready to enter the Promised Land. And yet, Balaam, an outsider, pronounces this beautiful blessing on Israel. What does it mean to those who might be considered ‘outsiders’ today that Balaam speaks the Word of God?

Prayer: God of all creation, give us the courage of Balaam. He stood firm before the threats of Balak, the king. He received Your Spirit and spoke the Word You inspired. May we see, as Balaam did, what pleases You and speak honestly of it. Amen.