And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam took up his discourse and said,
“From Aram Balak has brought me,
the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
and come, denounce Israel!’
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags I see him,
from the hills I behold him;
behold, a people dwelling alone,
and not counting itself among the nations!
Who can count the dust of Jacob
or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
and let my end be like his!”
And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?” Numbers 23:1-11 ESV
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 50:10-15 ESV
In a fairy tale there was a lovely young girl who was getting water from a well when she met an old woman. The woman asked her for a drink, and the girl gave it to her cheerfully and pleasantly. The old woman was really a fairy, and she rewarded her kindness by making it so that every time she spoke, flowers or jewels would fall from her mouth. The girl’s older sister, who was unpleasant and rude, went to the well hoping the same thing would happen to her. However, she was so rude to the fairy that she was cursed with having a toad or snake come out of her mouth whenever she talked.
Balak was hoping for ugly things such as toads and snakes to come out of Balaam’s mouth. He wanted curses for the people of Israel. But Balaam said words of blessing instead, beautiful words that were like flowers and jewels. The reason was because God had put the words in Balaam’s mouth, and he responded to what God told him to say. God intended to bless his people Israel, and any words he gave Balaam would be words of blessing.
When we speak the words God gives us, they will be words of blessing and praise for God. This is true, because God is good and forgives our sins. He sent Jesus to be our Savior, and Jesus made us clean by his death on the cross. God has delivered us from sin and death, and the words we speak to others about him are words that tell the good news of what God has done. The ugliness of our sins is like the ugliness of toads and snakes, but the good news of God’s love and forgiveness are words of flowers and jewels.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your blessings of love and forgiveness. Help us to share words of blessing with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.