“There is no enchantment against Jacob.”
BALAK, anxious to induce Balaam to curse Israel, took him from place to place, and offered one sacrifice after another, but all in vain; the Lord stood between his people and the machinations of their enemies. We will read the inspired record of one of Balaam’s oracular speeches—it may serve for all.
13 And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence.
The king thought that the number, beauty, and order of Israel might have influenced the prophet, and therefore he would only let him see apart of them. The trick was in vain. God does not love his people because of their number. If there were but two or three he would be quite as sure to bless them.
14 ¶ And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar. (Moses and Balaam both stood on the same hill, but with very different objects. Places cannot change character.)
15 And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the Lord yonder.
16 And the Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus.
17 And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the Lord spoken? (An enquiry which we all should raise, and search the Scriptures to find the reply.)
18 And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
The immutability of the divine counsel is the safety of the saints. No entreaties of our foes can move the heart of God away from us: we are his chosen, and we shall be so evermore. Every promise is yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and not one single word of the Lord shall ever fall to the ground. Men shift like quicksand, but the Lord is firm as a rock.
20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. (No, nor all the devils in hell. The promise is not yea and nay, but yea, yea.)
21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. (Not such iniquity as to lead him to put them away. Balaam knew that nothing but sin could separate God from Israel, and he saw that by some means or other the Lord had not seen iniquity in his people. We know, what he did not, that a Mediator came between, otherwise Israel’s sins had long before been her destruction. No doubt compared with the Moabites and especially the filthy Canaanites, the people in the wilderness were remarkably pure to Balaam’s judgment; but it would have fared very ill with them if this had been their only righteousness.)
22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. (God makes his saints so strong that they astound their adversaries.)
23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: (No plan of men or devils can succeed against the elect of God. We have no cause to fear evil omens, in fact, it would be sinful to do so. It is wicked to feel the superstitious fear of the old heathen. No magical arts, Satanic devices, or malicious plottings can really injure the beloved of the Lord) according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
God’s work shall baffle man’s, and excite wonder when human malice is forgotten.
24 Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain. (He foresaw the military prowess of the nation, and foretold the destruction of the Canaanites by Israel, thus in reality blessing the people whom he was invited to curse.)
Vain were the heathen altars
The tide of love to stem;
That tongue for ever falters
That would the saints condemn.
In vain the wrath it mutters,
For God will never curse;
When he the blessing utters,
There’s no man can reverse.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 134.