Behind the Scenes

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When studying the Bible, it's important to notice everything.  Who is the information about?  To whom is it written?  When is it written and even better, at what point in the overall "story" is the account placed?  Take, for example, the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel.

Beginning early in the book of Exodus, the Bible gives detailed accounts about the Israelites escape from Egypt and their continuing journey toward the Promised Land.  While other characters and events coincide with their story, the children of Israel remain the main characters throughout the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy except on one occasion.

In the first verse of Numbers 22, we see the children of Israel pitched in the plains of Moab.  Beginning in the next verse and carrying all the way through Numbers 24, the Scriptures zero in on the interaction between the prophet Balaam and Balak, the king of Moab.  Balak pays Balaam (who is also a sorcerer), to curse Israel so they will be destroyed before overtaking his land.  God intercedes and turns Balaam's blessing into a curse, which angers Balak and forces him to move on to Plan B.  I encourage you to read through the account as it is enlightening and also quite humorous.  The lengths to which these two men go to have their way is downright comical, yet sad.

Anyway, during that entire exchange, our main character--Israel--is completely ignored.  Other than the fact that they were the object of Balaam's curse and the reason for Balak's fear, they're not even mentioned.  To me, this is one of the sweetest and most comforting Bible lessons though it is easy to overlook.

What were the children of Israel doing while Balak and Balaam were plotting against them?  They were going about their everyday routines, utterly oblivious to the fact that their enemies were ready to strike.  They had no idea they were in danger.  They were just living life the best they could.

What was God doing during this time?  He was watching, but more than that, He was working.  God gave Balaam the words to say.  He turned the curse into a blessing.  He prevented harm from coming to His children through Balak's cowardice attack.  He was working, and the Israelites had no idea.  Why?  Because God was working behind the scenes.

Dear friends, there are troubles in this life we will never see because God has dealt with them before they ever reach us.  How many times has He calmed storms we never knew were brewing?  How many times has He stopped enemies we didn't even know we had?  That alone is cause for praise, but I want to bring it a little closer home.

What about the trials we do experience, the ones He allows to pass through His hands?  Even then, we can trust He is working behind the scenes to make things work according to His will.  He hasn't left us to face the storm alone.  He is there.  He is working.  He hasn't forgotten us or given up on us.  No, the One who knows the beginning from the end is working all things for His glory and our good.  And just as He did for the children of Israel, He will turn our curses into blessings, our mourning into dancing and our trials into triumphs.

But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
— John 5:17