Who is Yahweh? A reliable God

The story continues…

Part 23 (Numbers 22-24)

As the Israelites approach Canaan once again (this time from the east), the local chieftains are alarmed. Fearing that his own territory might be invaded, Balak king of Moab consults a famous holy man (Balaam) with the intention of gaining a spiritual advantage over Israel. But this apparently straightforward enterprise runs aground on Yahweh’s determination to bless his chosen people. Instead of cursing them, Balaam is inspired to declare God’s constancy:
“God is not human, that He should lie,
not a human being, that He should change His mind.
Does He speak and then not act?
Does He promise and not fulfil?” (Numbers 23:19)
Neither money nor magic can turn Yahweh aside from his purpose; nothing can prevent the fulfilment of His promise to Abraham (Numbers 24:9).

Neither money nor magic can turn Yahweh aside from his purpose; nothing can prevent the fulfilment of His promise to Abraham (Numbers 24:9).

Balak gets angry and frustrated; he has paid a small fortune for this oracle, and he expects Balaam (who is, after all, a ‘professional’) to give him what he wants. His religion is basically superstition: the gods exist to serve him, and it’s just a matter of finding the right formula. Balaam, however, has recently had a rather frightening encounter with Yahweh’s angel (Numbers 22:21-35) and therefore has some idea of who they are up against.

Unlike the gods of man-made religions (who are manipulated by the wealthy and powerful to serve their own interests), the living God acts with complete freedom of choice – and His choices cannot be overturned by outside influence. “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Exodus 33:19).His nature is to be merciful, but He exercises that mercy without any external obligation or constraint (Romans 9:16). His favour cannot be bought or earned; He forgives not because He ‘has to’ but because He chooses to. And that is how we can be assured that His decisions will never be overturned.

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