For from the top of the rocks I see him, And from the hills I behold him; There! A people dwelling alone, Not reckoning itself among the nations.
The Israelites were camping in the plains of Moab, bringing terror to the Moabites because of their mere presence, according to Numbers 22:3. Balak, king of the Moabites, has sent for the diviner Balaam to curse the people of Israel, and Balaam has defiled the will of God by traveling to Balak. However, upon arrival, he declares that he can only speak the words that God gives to him. The next day Balaam seeks the Lord and then tells Balak that he cannot curse whom God has not cursed (Numbers 23:8). From their high vantage point, they observe that Israel dwells alone and has not integrated with the surrounding nations.
Israel chose to stand with God by “not reckoning itself among the nations,” and this picture illustrates exactly how the church is to live in relation to the world. We are not to withdraw from the world to the point where they do not know we exist, nor are we to assimilate with the world to the point where we are no longer observable or influential. Like Israel stood out, we too must stand out in a way so that we are beacons for Christ. We are to be the fragrance of Christ amongst the perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15). May we be a united church, ready to walk in our individual callings so that the world notices the power of God who keeps us.
Pastor Jeff Mericle