Held Back By God?

Sometimes it is difficult to recognize God’s blessings. We may pray to God with a specific expectation, and when our hope is not met or realized, we wonder, “Where is God?”

In Numbers 22-23, we read of Balaam, who was a prophet hired by an evil king and enemy of God’s people. The king was afraid of the Israelites who camped nearby, and hired Balaam to prophesy against them…to curse them. The Lord intervened, and three times, Balaam only blessed God’s people.

The king grew frustrated and first asked, “What have you done to me?” (23:11). He then insisted that Balaam stop talking, “Do not curse them at all, nor bless them at all!” (23:25). Finally, the prideful king who was not able to buy a blessing from the mouth of the prophet said, “…behold, the Lord has held you back from honor” (24:11). Balaam was held back by God from untold riches, and as evil as the king was, in a sense, those words are true.

In our lives, we may wonder, “Where is God?” when He is beside us all along. We may have difficulty recognizing His blessings because we are more focused on the physical than the spiritual. What sort of honor are we expecting? Perhaps, even today, from time to time, God holds us back from earthly honor, to bless us with the heavenly, spiritual, and eternal honor that is to come.

Matt Langfield