88. The power of prayer

Balak, King of Moab, took Balaam to three different viewpoints of the Israelites camped out below. He hoped that Balaam would curse them from there, instead he blessed them. He blessed them, because God took hold of him and wouldn't allow him to curse them. Balaam wanted to curse them, because he wanted the riches King Balak promised him, but God wouldn't tolerate it. And as we saw last week, God wouldn't allow them to 'twist His arm', so to speak. God doesn't change His mind through people trying to manipulate Him. He will never allow that. But interestingly enough there are a couple of instances in the Bible where God did change His mind, concerning things.

In the first place, let's look at the instance in King Hezekiah's life. He became deathly ill and God sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that he was going to die. Hezekiah was devastated and cried out to the Lord:

"Remember, O Lord, how I have always tried to be faithful to You and do what is pleasing in Your sight." 2 Kings 20:3

God saw his tears and heard his prayer and added fifteen years to his life.

Another example is where God was very angry with the Israelites for worshiping the golden calf. He told Moses:

"I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave Me alone so My anger can blaze against them and destroy them all. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation instead of them." Exodus 32:9, 10

But Moses pleaded with the Lord not to do it. And God withdrew His threat and didn't bring the disaster against the people.

Given these two examples it would seem that God does change His mind sometimes. He didn't change His mind with Balak and Balaam, because they didn't repent and humble themselves before the Lord and they also didn't ask a humble thing of Him. They wanted to curse His nation and God wouldn't allow it. God loved Israel and wouldn't agree to have curses spoken over them.

But in the other two examples God did listen to the humble pleadings of His children. He does listen when we pray, that is why prayer is so powerful. He does extend a hand when we need it. He is patient and He is kind. He will listen to our requests and He will do what is best. He will do what is best, not only for us, but for His Kingdom as a whole. We need to remember that we are part of a whole, we are part of the Body of Christ, His Bride. We are not supposed to function individually, but as a group, serving God. And He will do what is best for the group. He will do what is best for the new creation within each of us. We might not always understand, but we can know that He works to our best interest. Our part to play is to pray. There is power in it, more than we can know, as we've seen in the examples above. But then we need to leave it in God's capable hands. He truly knows best.

Father, we have so many requests. We have so many things we wish can be different and we do not always understand why things don't work out the way we want it to. But thank you that we can know that You know best and we can rest in Your presence. Amen

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