In Numbers 22, we read about Balaam. Moabite princes came to him with a message from Balak, the king of Moab. He wanted Balaam to put a curse on a group of people that came from out of Egypt. Balaam asked God what he should do, and God told him not to go with the messengers and not to put a curse on the people because they were blessed. Balaam told the princes "Go back to you own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you." (verse 13). Balak didn't take no for an answer. He sent more princes to Balaam. This time the message from Balak included these words: "I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say." (verse 17). Balaam's response to the princes in verse 18 sounded commendable. Balaam said "Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God." He then told the princes to stay the night so that he could find out what else the Lord would tell him. That night, God told Balaam to go with them, but only do what He tells him.
The next morning, Balaam left to go with the princes, and God was very angry when he went. Why was God angry with Balaam? God had told Balaam to go, and now He was angry with him? It doesn't make sense, does it? Yes, it does. Balaam had been told once that he was not to go and put a curse on these people because they were blessed. When more money and prestige was offered to him the second time, Balaam got greedy. He decided to ask God again what he should do because he was hoping God had changed His mind. God knew what was in Balaam's heart: greed. That is what made Him angry! When God gives you an answer, don't keep asking the same question trying to see if He'll change His mind. Do what God tells you to do the first time.
The angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose Balaam. Balaam could not see him, but his donkey could! When Balaam's donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn, he turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back onto the road. Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. Balaam's donkey again saw the angel and pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam's foot against it. Again, Balaam beat his donkey. Finally, the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn. When Balaam's donkey saw the angel, she laid down. Balaam was angry and beat her with his staff. Why was Balaam so angry with his donkey? She was hindering his progress! He was blinded by his greed and wanted to get where he was going as soon as possible. He couldn't see what was blocking his way and he didn't realize he would have died if his donkey had kept going. All he cared about was his donkey wasn't doing what he wanted her to do. Are we ever so blinded by what we want that we don't see that there are warning signs letting us know we are headed down a wrong road? Make sure your eyes are always focused on following God so that you can see where you are going and what is ahead.
Enduring Love/Mercy # 23
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