My schedule has been convoluted since my daughter’s wedding and my wife’s graduation ceremony. (EdD) I’m finally getting back on schedule. I hope.
Matthew 23:1-12; Numbers 22:41-23:26; Song of Solomon 3:6-5:1
“Then Balak said to him, ‘Please come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only the outer part of them, and shall not see them all; curse them for me from there.’” (Numbers 23:13 NKJV)
Under other circumstances, you could almost feel sorry for Balak. He used some of his top people to convince Balaam to do a job. When Balaam refused, based on the Lord’s word, he sent even bigger muckity mucks from his kingdom and offered him a lot of money. So the Lord told Balaam he could go, if he would repeat what God told him. Then, Balaam, who only had one job, which was to curse the Israelites, did just the opposite. He blessed them. So, Balak, came up with an interesting idea: he decided to take Balaam to look at a different part of the vast tribes of Israel, hoping to get a curse on at least part of the group. So Balak set up a second round of sacrifices and waited for the curse to happen, only a stronger blessing. Instead of taking the hint and trying to make peace with Israel, he griped and complained when the guy who told him he could only say what God said, said what God said.
Persistence is usually considered a virtue. It’s not a virtue, though, when you’re persistent in trying to go against God’s ways. Balaam should have never listened to the second delegation. If it weren’t for his donkey, he would have paid a great price for listening to them, even though God sent him. He did commit to telling Balak what God said, even though it caused him trouble. Balak persisted in seeking evil, Balaam, except for a misstep, sought to follow God. There are some lessons to be learned from this story. The first is, when God tells you something, listen to Him the first time. Balaam went back for a recount. While he shouldn’t have, God still used it. Balak wasted a lot of time and money looking for a second opinion from the same seer. The second lesson is that persistence is a problem when practiced outside of God’s will. Balak was so insistent on getting his curse on Israel, that he ended up hearing Israel blessed three times. The corollary to that lesson is that we should never seek to persuade God to take our side, rather, we should seek to align ourselves with God’s plan. His plan is far better than any idea of ours.
Lord, help me to seek Your plan and persist in following that, no matter what the cost. Keep me from following the temptation to ask for a second opinion hoping that You’ll change Your mind.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.