Hands Off!

HARM NOT MY PEOPLE

King Balak of Moab summoned Balaam to curse Israel, God’s people (Num.22-24). Balaam was informed, “You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed” (Num.22: 12). Four times Balaam opened his mouth and every time words of blessing poured forth. The curse was intended to harm God’s people and God protected them against the curse. Balaam had to conclude, “May those that bless you be blessed and those that curse you be cursed.” The nations that did seek to curse Israel became a curse themselves. In fact, they were wiped off the map.

During the days of Moses and Joshua, the nation of Israel was close to God and her children were respected. With God’s help, they believed that five of them could chase one hundred enemies and one hundred could chase ten thousand (Lev.26: 8). Some of Israel’s heroes could by themselves chase a thousand (Deut.32: 30). All these men required for the protection of Israel were trumpets (Judg.7: 22) and a jawbone of an ass (15: 14-16). The Psalmist uttered this promise (91: 7-10), “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only watch with your eyes and see the wicket being punished. If you make the Most High your dwelling -even the Lord, who is my judge then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.” The Israelites were human and had to pay for their disobedience in the Babylonian captivity. After a remnant repented, the captives were allowed to return and the world took notice again of the presence of God in their midst. Zechariah recorded this message (8: 23), “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the edge of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'”

The world and the Jewish people forgot what God would do for those that love Him (Isa.64: 4). God, of course, did not forget. He sent His Son to offer the world a second chance (Jn.3: 16). Now they could come from every language and nation and sit at the table with the patriarchs (Mt.8: 11). A people that were not His people would become His people (Hos.2: 23). Henceforth, “There will be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal.3: 28). This was in God’s will before the world was created (Eph.1: 4). In Christ God created a new humanity (II Cor.5: 17). It shall be beyond our grasp what God has in store for his people (Ro.8: 32). Jesus promised that God will send him back and he will deal with those that have harmed his people (Mk.14: 62). There is no other His equal that can stop Him. The enemies of the cross are dealing with God’s people and they will endure His fury (Rev.6: 15-17). But those that shall show kindness towards the new people of God in Christ, even if it is a mere cup of water, shall not go un-rewarded (Mt.10: 42).

The blessings Israel enjoyed when it was close to God were handed down to the new people of God (I Cor.2: 9). Like Israel, the new people are in the process of stumbling and losing the blessings of God (Heb.10: 26-31). God did not spare disobedient Israel, what makes us think He will spare the new people (Ro.11: 21)? If trusting in God shall diminish, what will the world be like (Lk.18: 8)? How can God’s blessings be passed on if there are no more carriers (Ro.10: 14-15)? A far more serious question is, “are our Christians that are afraid to speak the name of Jesus in public, still God’s people?” Also, is a nation worth saving that deliberately removes the One through whom God has so abundantly blessed the world? God expects a certain number of people to pray for the safety and the well being of a nation (Ja.5: 16). Noah alone could not stop the flood. Abraham needed ten people to save Sodom and Gomorrah. The few prophets could not turn Israel back to God and the Romans ended it all. It will take more than a few prayers and some public Bible readings to win back the grace of God. Of course, all things are possible with God; but are the leaders and the people of this nation willing to do what Nineveh did (Jonah 3: 7-9)? To avert the curse, the King issued this decree: ‘”Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”‘ Nineveh was spared and so can this nation. God’s invitation has not changed, but this nation has. The Lord told the faithful, “My eyes and my heart will always be there” (II Chr.7: 16).