"He crouches like a lion or a lioness -- who would rouse him? He who blesses you will be blessed, and he who curses you will be cursed." -- Numbers 24:9 TLV
Isn't it just amazing how someone who was sent to curse Israel is not only blessing them, but is actually restating a part of a covenant blessing from old? "He who blesses you will be blessed, and he who curses you will be cursed" is actually from the Abrahamic Covenant. I am relieved to see that even through chastisement of Israel, God makes her enemies to know she is loved, she is blessed, she is His highly-favored bride.
When I was in my younger twenties, in my former marriage, I had a few girlfriends I'd use for venting and vice versa. In the heat of spousal arguments, or even in times when I felt I had been grossly treated, it was nice for me to be justified and validated. When I was younger I often turned to girlfriends for this. Many, many times it was at the cost of man-bashing, to put it bluntly. Then when all was well in the marriage, I'd talk to my friend and she would still speak with an animosity toward my ex-husband and even sometimes speak ill about him in my own ear. Let me tell you, it sounds so ridiculous to hear someone else speak ill of your spouse while you are sitting there listening to it, but what else are you to do?...You started it.
I think what opened my eyes wasn't just what I was hearing, but to likewise know what it felt like to hear someone bash me to my spouse and watch him not say much of anything. I didn't actually get that message from reading Balak, but when I discussed the parsha with Brant yesterday it was something that came to his attention. Israel is wandering a wilderness in chastisement, the first generation of them have already been cut off from the land, but yet God doesn't allow spousal bashing. God is so after protecting her image and her honor, as it is tied to Him and His honor properly as Bridegroom and bride, that although there are problems He is not going to make a show of her. This is so perfectly stated in this parsha and exemplified even in the story of Joseph who thought to put away Mary privately than to bring disgrace upon her in the eyes of others.
Marriage is under attack these days. I don't just mean in the redefining of it in worldly, "civil rights" terms. I mean that it is under attack by even believers, who have been given the opportunity for spousal bashing and ran with it. I had seen myself in such places, unfortunately many times. If any message sticks from Balak, let it not just be that we cannot be cursed if we are blessed, but let it be a conviction of what it really means to honor and prefer one another in marriage, especially in protecting each other's image.
Outside of this message above that Brant reaped, a point that I was stuck upon was the very end of the parsha when Israel started having sexually immoral relations with the women from Moab and Midian. This stuck out to me because the parsha began with those of Midian and Moab wanting to curse Israel and trying to hire Balaam to do so. The very people who wanted to curse Israel but couldn't are the people who caused a plague among Israel. It's like if they couldn't curse Israel, they would just cause Israel to curse themselves through the sin of sexual immorality and idolatry/spiritual adultery. Do you see the hatred of Satan toward God? So many people will like to quote that no weapon formed against them shall prosper, like the same thought of not being able to be cursed since we are blessed as God's children. However, in getting us to sin he not gets us to curse ourselves but he gets us to dishonor God. It saddens my heart for God's sake to see Him protect His bride from certain people, yet His bride will allow those same exact people to trample on Him. He fights to protect our image and protect us from spousal bashing, but do we do the same for Him?
The best way I can think of, so far, in protecting God's image goes back to the commandment to His first bride in the garden, and like a thread of love this same commandment is repeated throughout the Bible... "Shamar" -- which means to guard and protect. Guarding God's commands is how we protect His image. If we learned to love God properly by keeping the commands, rather than doing away with what is His definition of love (the commandments), then perhaps everything else, including marriage as it is intended, would fall into place.
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