Today’s Reading: Numbers 22:21-23:30 (additional reading Psalm 58:1-11 and Proverbs 11:12-13)
Key Verse: “Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Numbers 22:28
I love the story of Balaam and his donkey. It really reminds me how vital it is to listen to God, obey God and pass on his message clearly. It’s amazing how quickly we can become so full of pride that it’s sometimes easier to allow a donkey to speak. Here are three important lessons from today’s reading:
WHEN GOD ASKS YOU TO DO SOMETHING, HE IS LOOKING FOR ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE. (v. 12)
God gave Balaam a clear directive: “Don’t go with them. You must not put a curse on those people because they are blessed.” God did not stutter. He gave His instruction in a simple way that Balaam could easily understand. There was no question about what God meant or wanted. Balaam didn’t get into trouble because God didn’t give proper directions. He got in trouble because he didn’t follow them. When God says to do it, DO IT!
Balaam starts off good but then gave in to compromise. Don’t be surprised if the enemy comes to test your resolve when God gives you direction. If he doesn’t succeed at first in trying to get you to compromise, he’ll come back later and sweeten the deal. Don’t buy it! When God asks you to do something, He is looking for absolute obedience.
WHEN WE GET OUT OF GOD’S WILL, HE WILL OFTEN PUT ROADBLOCKS IN THE WAY TO GET OUR ATTENTION. (v. 22)
Balaam claimed that he would not go against God just for money, but his resolve was beginning to slip, and although we may know what God wants us to do, we can sometimes become blinded by the desire for money, possessions, or prestige. Sometimes God, as He did with Balaam, will “stand in the road to oppose us”. He loves us so much that He tries to get us to turn around if we’re going the wrong way or to re-think things if our approach is wrong.
How many of you get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan? Especially when you’re travelling. There’s nothing worse than being in a hurry to get somewhere, and you run out of gas… make a wrong turn… get lost… or you have car trouble. Sometimes it’s good for us to stop and think ‘are we walking where God wants us to walk?’ The more we develop a “secular mindset” (through disobedience), the more God’s Will, and His attempts to get us back “on course” become a source of irritation.
WHEN GOD PUTS A ROADBLOCK IN YOUR PATH, DON’T GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A BEATING FOR IT!! (vs. 23, 25 & 27)
Three times Balaam beats up his reliable old donkey because he was too wrapped up in himself to see the roadblock God put right in front of him. Many times, God tries to get our attention, and we just won’t listen, so He tries again. Instead of listening to reason, we allow pride and anger to build up, we get irritated by our problems and take it out on some innocent victim. How many times have you “beat the wrong horse” when God was explicitly trying to get your attention? Striking out at others is a big sign that something is wrong with us.
- Are you compromising on a calling from God?
- Is there some source of irritation in your life that God has actually put there to protect you?
- Are you striking out or blaming others for something that you need to correct?
Father, Thank You for giving us a second chance. Thank You that even when we are so caught up in ourselves, that you get our attention to bring us back onto the right path. Help us not to wander and to be obedient to Your calling. In Jesus’ name, Amen