And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord over there.” And the Lord met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” And Balaam took up his discourse and said,
“Rise, Balak, and hear;
give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Behold, I received a command to bless:
he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,
nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
and the shout of a king is among them.
God brings them out of Egypt
and is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
‘What has God wrought!’
Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up
and as a lion it lifts itself;
it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
and drunk the blood of the slain.” Numbers 23:13-24 ESV
O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
sing praises to the Lord,
to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God! Psalm 68:32-35 ESV
In 1844, a man named Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message from Washington D. C. to a railroad station in Baltimore. A few minutes later the man at the other end, Alfred Vail, sent the same message back. These men were demonstrating that messages could be sent almost instantly across long distances by telegraph using Morse code, a system of long and short taps. Morse code and the telegraph made a huge difference to American communication at that time. It was before the internet or telephone, and gave people the first way to communicate quickly across long distances. The first message that was sent by telegraph was, “What hath God wrought!” It was an expression of awe and wonder at something new and exciting.
The first time this expression was used was by Balaam in the Bible. Balak had brought him to a place where he would only see some of God’s people. He thought that maybe it would be easier to curse them if they didn’t seem to be such a huge group. But God gave Balaam the the same message the second time. God told Balaam to say that God isn’t like a person who might change his mind. He said that no divination or enchantment that Balaam might use would make a difference. God would make Israel great, so that people would look at them with awe and wonder and say, “What has God wrought!”
God made Israel great because he loved them and chose to bless them. In the end, it is God who is great. He is the one who gives us wonder and awe by the blessings he gives us every day. The greatest blessing he has given us is our wonderful Savior. Jesus came to destroy sin, death, and the devil for us. He has made us his people by his powerful work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. When we think about what Jesus has done for us, we can say too, “What has God wrought!”
Dear Jesus, thank you for all the blessings you give us, especially for defeating sin and death and making us your people. Amen.