Newsletter 11.09.16

Dear Church Family,

In Numbers 22-25, the Moabites have a problem. The Israelites have made their exodus out of Egypt and now they are moving into Moabite turf. What’s more is that they haven’t just been moving in, they have been wiping out everyone opposed to them. That’s bad news for them. So, their king, Balak, decides to take matters into his own hands and make a preemptive strike. However, his plan doesn’t involve a physical attack at this point—it involves a spiritual attack. Balak sends messengers to a man named Balaam who has a reputation for possessing mystical powers for this purpose: to curse the people of God.

Well, at the end of the day, not only does God keep Balaam from cursing His people, but He actually causes Balaam to do the opposite of what Balak wanted—he blesses them. Looking back on these events some time later, Nehemiah succinctly describes what happened by saying “our God turned the curse into a blessing” (Nehemiah 13:2). For the sake of clarity, Nehemiah makes this comment basically in passing and it is not the main point of what he is addressing, but even that impresses on us the reality that this is not out of the ordinary for God and therefore should not be surprising for His people.

In other words, the consistent teaching of Scripture is that God delights to turn curses into blessings and evil into good for His people. Two classic texts to corroborate this are found in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” and Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Christian, don’t let this truth roll off you like water on a duck’s back. We are meant to find great comfort in the almighty power of our great God who will not let anything—absolutely anything—derail the plans for good He has for us.

But how can we be sure? We can bank our entire existence on this truth because through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the greatest possible curse that stood against us has been fully and finally dealt with once and for all. But how do we know that? Because our Lord did not stay dead but was raised from the grave in order to prove that His substitution for His Bride was accepted by the Father. Brothers and sisters, with all due respect for the seriousness of the trials many of us have been through, are going through, and will go through—everything else is incomparably small. We must remind ourselves that even in the greatest of our challenges, our God remains unchallenged. If Christ has been raised from the dead, there remains no curse that our loving Father will not ultimately turn into a blessing.

So then whatever we experience and no matter the curses designed by the evil one against us, we are enabled to sing with great joy, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

Gentry