Immutable Benedictions
Numbers 23:20
Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he has blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

I. BLESSINGS ARE DECREED FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD. The difficulty of believing in the glorious truth of the supreme blessedness of the children of God is so common that there must be some reasons for it.

1. One reason is that the largest blessings belong to the future. For the present, Christians have to endure the trials of a wilderness pilgrimage. We need faith to expect the good things of the unseen future.

2. A deeper reason is that the best blessings are spiritual. To the carnal mind they appear wearisome in the extreme, just as the exquisite tones of the finest melody do to a man who has no ear for music. Here also men need faith to believe that the highest blessings are necessarily at present above their appreciation.

II. THE ATTEMPT TO REVERSE THESE BLESSINGS RESULTS IN THE INCREASE OF THEM. The evil intention results unwittingly in a beneficent action. Consider some of the applications of this principle of Providence.

1. The captivity. Nebuchadnezzar, who aimed at destroying the Jewish nation, was indirectly its great benefactor in fulfilling the Divine prophecies of necessary chastisement and forcing the people to a painful discipline, which effectually and for ever purged them of their old besetting sin of idolatry.

2. The temptation of Christ. The tempter sought to overthrow the Son of God and Saviour of the world. But the result of the forty days' trial in the wilderness was that Christ came forth fitted to be our great high priest by means of the very endurance of that temptation.

3. The death of Christ. His enemies hoped to overthrow His cause by means of this. But it was overruled to secure His triumph and to accomplish the great end of His mission.

4. The persecution of the Church. The Christians, scattered by the persecution that followed the death of Stephen, fled from Jerusalem only to spread the gospel in all directions, and so to increase their own numbers and to magnify the name of their God.

5. The troubles of life generally. The sufferer is described as being "delivered unto Satan." The motive of Satan must be purely malignant. Yet the suffering he inflicts is expressly designed for the good of the sufferer — "that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 5:5).


(W. F. Adeney, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

WEB: Behold, I have received a command to bless. He has blessed, and I can't reverse it.

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