A Pagan Stands in Awe

King Balak of the neighboring country of Moab hired Balaam, a pagan prophet, to curse God’s people. Balak wanted to eliminate any threat that the Israelites would have against him and his land of Moab. Today’s reading is the account of what happened between God and Balaam. God declares to Balaam the unique blessing that God gives to his people.

The pagan Balaam stands in awe of the power of God. God is true to God’s word. When God blesses, who can curse?

The well-known hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” based on Lamentations, 3:22-23, expresses this when we sing in praise of God: “Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.” The Letter to the Hebrews, 13:8, expresses it this way: “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

The Sabbath Torah Portion — Balak

Numbers 22:39—23:30

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Speaking only what You want 23:12
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

On July 8, the Firestarters from the new edition of
The Bible Through the Seasons for families will be posted daily. 

4 thoughts on “A Pagan Stands in Awe

  1. Don’t miss the gentle and powerful commentary on the Torah portion for today. Click on the link provided after the Firestarter to The Jewish Theological Seminary. You can listen to Rabbi Abigail tenderly read her commentary.

    Turning toward the wilderness…what Jesus did at the beginning of his ministry, waiting only on the Lord for direction–not the instant gratification behind the devil’s temptations.


  2. Balaam is a pagan prophet, not an Israelite, not one of the chosen people. Balaam knows God personally and obeys him. God blesses Balaam with his presence and word. Think about that. We tend to think about God in the Old Testament as God of only the Israelites just like today we tend to think about God as only God of Jews and Christians. Some even narrow that smaller to be only the God of their own particular faith. What are we doing?! Are we trying to make God smaller than He is? Do you know someone who, like Balaam, is not of the “chosen people” who knows God, lives life obeying God?

    Jesus came first to the Jews, the chosen people, but his word spread to the pagans.


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