In the last chapter of Joshua (number 24) the man of God (Joshua) is reviewing all God had done for the Israelites. All the way back to Abraham, his father Terah really! Quite a history!
Then the Text related the “Balaam affair.” A false prophet hired to curse the Jews! Employed by the wicked Moabites (Balak being their King) to hinder Israel, Balaam a “preacher for sale!”
Joshua 24:9 here encapsulates: “Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you.”
Next, today’s verse, God’s Personal Testimony: “But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.” Joshua 24:10
Three things “jump” to my attention!
Balaam spoke to God, prayed in essence … only this, GOD TURNED A DEAF EAR! This happened with Saul, King of Israel too. (1st Samuel 28:6, one of the saddest verses in the Bible. “And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” Saul was by then a rebel, a backslider, nearly a reprobate.)
Point being, God does not hear all prayer! (Another example: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Psalm 66:18)
The Lord WOULD NOT hearken unto Balaam! (The verb for “hearken” is “shama,” meaning “to hear” of course, but also “to obey!”)
Secondly, God apparently turned Balaam’s intended curses into blessings! Wow! Here’s “curse” number one, Balaam against Israel: “How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people (of Israel) shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” Numbers 23:8-10, not a curse at all!
God still speaking of Balaam, our text verse again, part of it: “But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore HE BLESSED YOU still ….”
Yes, God can turn intended curses … into blessings!
Reminds me of Joseph’s words to his wicked brothers back in Genesis 50:20. “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.” Amazing!
Thirdly today, God recounts to Israel, yet again concerning Balaam: “So I delivered you out of his hand.” With the verb “delivered” being “natzsal” in Hebrew, “to rescue, to help escape, to recover!”
God’s Omni-competent Protection in our lives!
From a single very encouraging verse of Scripture, on a Thursday morning in February! “But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.” Joshua 24:10
— Dr. Mike Bagwell