What hath God wrought

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“What hath God wrought” was the first message Samuel Morse ever tapped out on his new invention.  And it’s almost certainly that fact (more than its original appearance in Scripture) that lies behind its fame.  Interestingly, today if it’s said at all, it tends not to refer to great discoveries as much as terrible tragedies.  (Perhaps that reflects a different view of God, or technology, or both!)

When we think of a mighty act of God we think of a disaster.  Morse thought of an invention.  But in the bible God’s work is a whole lot more personal.  As we’ll see, what God “hath wrought” is a people – an unbreakable, forever-blessed people.

The phrase appears in Numbers chapter 23.  The Moabite Balaam has been contracted as a freelance prophet to curse the Israelites.  But when King Balak makes his second demand for a magical malediction, here’s what Balaam says:

Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?  Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.  He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.  God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! (Numbers 23:18-23)

Balaam is stressing the irreversibly resolute character of God.  In particular, there is a work to which God is immovably committed.  What is it?  He has determined to bless the seed of Abraham.  Nothing can undo this blessing.  No coercion from outside (an enchantment or divination) and no u-turn from within (God’s repentance) will thwart this.

What God hath wrought is a people.  He has blessed this people, saved this people, and even after all we’ve seen, He refuses to credit them with “iniquity” or “perverseness”!  No foreign power can ruin God’s work, not even their own sin can spoil it.  The LORD makes it His crowning achievement to create a people for Himself.

What is God’s great work?  The Horsehead Nebula?  The Grand Canyon?  The blue whale?  No His great work is to build a family.  The Father has forever blessed His Son, filling Him with His eternal Spirit.  And He has forever desired brothers and sisters for His Son (Romans 8:29).  His work of redemption is to sweep these up by His Spirit into His Son that they may be blessed in the Beloved.

If you belong to Christ you are a member of this uncurseable people (Galatians 3:29).  You are eternally secure.  God will not repent of His work.  Your sin will not cost you your position.  No dark art can dislodge you from your place.  You are some piece of work!

Behold, what God hath wrought!

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