May 18 – Sin and Grace

Psalm 48; Numbers 24:1-14; Luke 1:26-38

The difference between “right” and “wrong” is never a matter of perspective. When someone wants to entice another person to do wrong, they always want you to look at the issue from “another view.” They seek to fool themselves by justifying what they do, and feel better about things by dragging others along with them in their sin. For an outlandish example, someone needing money is convinced to rob a bank. They are persuaded by the other perspective that they really aren’t robbing the bank because the insurance company will pay the losses, and insurance companies do nothing more than rob the people. (Not my personal view, for example only.) This different perspective may be convincing to that person, but it’s still wrong to rob a bank.

Balak was worried about the Israelites coming into the Promised Land. He summoned a prophet of the Lord to curse the people. Balaam had an argument with God about the situation, and eventually left his home. As Balaam looked out over the people of Israel, he blessed them. This ticked Balak off, so he asked Balaam to look at them from a different perspective – twice. All three times Balaam looked, he blessed the people of Israel. Balak dismissed him without paying him noting that all he had to do was curse them and the payday would have been huge. “Balaam answered Balak, ‘Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord—and I must say only what the Lord says”’?” (Numbers 24:12-13)

Today we are admonished to look at different activities from different perspectives – to understand those involved in them. I’m a pretty hard-nosed Baptist on many issues facing our society today. I think I do a pretty good job of understanding people who have different perspectives and showing love to them. They may have a religion other than following Christ, or no religion at all. They may have different lifestyles and/or engage in activities that are contrary to God’s word. Hopefully, I show God’s love to all people. That being said, I will never be able to accept as “right” that which God says is “wrong.” To go deeper, though, none of the above issues puts a person beyond the forgiveness of God as I understand what He says in His word.

Balaam gave Balak some ideas, later, on how to subvert the people of God. In the book of the Revelation, churches are admonished because of their association with the ideas of Balaam. As we live each day we have a two-headed message: live according to God’s word AND God forgives when we turn to Him. It is easy to focus on only one head. If we focus on the first, we become harsh and judgmental. If we focus on the second, we end up encouraging sin. God encourages “right” living because it is the best way to live. God offers forgiveness to those of us who do wrong (ok, everyone) because He loves us even when we rebel against Him. We must encourage others to follow God’s way AND show love and grace to all. It’s not the easy way, but it’s the God way.

Lord God, help me to maintain balance in my ministry. Let me encourage others to do right and to live according to Your will. Let me also show Your grace and forgiveness to others who do wrong, just as You have shown to me.

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About rockyfort

I am a retired Middle School Teacher. I share each day what God is teaching me from reading His word hoping that people can benefit from reading what God has taught me.
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