No Excuses!

Yael Eckstein  |  January 12, 2023

Israel, elderly woman stands with Efrat Klein (IFCJ Staff) holding food bag

“Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.” – Numbers 22:6

One of the founding principles of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is God’s eternal promise He made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you.” This is one of 12 devotions exploring the concept of blessing, barak, which is so important to both Christians and Jews.

Sometimes we might wonder why God gives the blessings of riches and an easy life to some of the most wicked people in the world. It just doesn’t seem just for sinners and criminals to prosper and live lives of luxury. One way the Jewish sages answer this question is that God does not want to give these wicked people any excuses when they eventually come before Him in judgment.

You see, the wicked might say at the end of their lives that if only they would have had money, they would have clothed the naked and fed the hungry. Or if they had had more time they might have contributed to God’s purposes. So, God will often choose to give blessings to the wicked people of the world so they will have no excuses when they meet their Creator. God gave them so much, yet they chose to use His gifts for sin instead of for good.

We see this lesson in the Bible in the Book of Numbers. Balak, the Moabite king, feared the Israelites. He saw that the Israelites were a blessed people with God on their side. He knew that his nation did not stand a chance against them. So Balak hired an evil prophet named Balaam, asking him to curse the Israelites.

No Excuses!

Jewish tradition teaches that Balaam had tremendous prophetic ability, on par with that of Moses. Balak knew about Balaam’s special gift and hired him to curse Israel, as he said to Balaam, “For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”

You might be wondering why Balaam was blessed with the gift of prophecy if he was wicked. The Jewish sages explain that God did this so that the enemies of Israel would have no excuse. They would not be able to say, “If God had only given us prophets like He gave Israel, we too would have listened.”

So God gave them Balaam who had the power to see the truth of God’s plan. Now when Balaam and Balak chose to use Balaam’s gift of prophecy for evil, they would have no excuse.

There is an important lesson here for us as well. We, too, have been given gifts by God. We can use them in the service of God, or, heaven forbid, we can waste these blessings. The question we will be asked when we stand before God is, how did we use the blessings He gave us. Remember we will have no excuses!

Your Turn:

What are the primary gifts that God has blessed you with? How can you use them to serve Him?