The last time I drove into Brockenhurst I followed a car with an American style bumper sticker that read Too Blessed to Be Stressed. In a way, that sticker captures the essence of the story of Balaam and the Israelites in today’s first reading. Despite forty years wandering in the desert and the malicious intentions of its enemies, Israel was too blessed by God to be stressed by its enemies, or even by its own infidelity.
After wandering in the desert, the Hebrews were ready to enter the Promised Land. Fearing the Hebrews, Balak the king of the Moabites commissioned a sorcerer, Balaam to place a curse on the Hebrews. Balak hoped to destroy them through magic. But God used this pagan sorcerer to declare his love for his people. God used Balaam’s donkey to proclaim blessings for the chosen people. And when Balaam opened his mouth, he pronounced blessings instead of curses. Balak’s plan failed because nothing can keep God from fulfilling his purpose.
At times, we may be tempted to think that God curses us for our failures and for our sins, or that he holds back blessings because we are unworthy. But this is not the God who loves us like a Father. This is not the God who gave up his own Son for us while we were still sinners.
As we continue with our journey through Advent, let us reflect on the blessings that God wants to give us.