God's people are on the move through the wilderness, and honestly, it doesn't look great. What should have been an eleven-day trek, two weeks tops, now looks like it's going to take about forty years, and if you're on the outside looking in, you'd think this would mean that God isn't really with this people as much as you've heard He is. After all, they can't even find their way to Canaan.
Still, as they stand on the edge of Balak's land, he looks out over the massive sea of Israelites who somehow look so strong and multitudinous even after their sojourn through the desert, and he's intimidated. So he goes and gets the prophet guy, Balaam, to come and curse these people for him. Even though they are wanderers and don't seem to be making their way anywhere fast, it never hurts to curse a people who are standing on the edge of your territory.
Then, something strange happens: Balaam and Balak end up standing on the top of a cliff, looking out over this people, and talking about how obviously blessed they are. Just look at them.
No, no. This won't do. Balak decides they should go to another cliff and get another look. And when they get there, they look out over this people...and can't stop talking about how blessed they are, how much God obviously loves them.
One more time. Let's go to yet another cliff and see what we see from there. You guessed it - look how amazingly blessed these people of God are. He truly loves them.
This is the way that it ought to be, and for anyone paying attention, this is the way that it is. From a distance, it's easy for the world to judge our lives of faith, saying that they obviously don't make sense, that we're just wanderers without a path. That we're lost, no matter how much we insist that we know where we are and where we're going.
But when we're right up on the edge of something, anyone close enough to see can observe nothing but God's blessing on our lives. We don't look like wanderers. We don't look like lost persons. We look like blessed persons, beloved persons.
That's what God does. He pours out His blessing on our lives so thoroughly that it's all anyone looking can talk about, it's all they can see. They may come out to curse us, but the minute they set eyes on us, there's just nothing but blessing as far as their eye can see. Isn't that amazing?
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