Education is a difficult field to work in. The kids we deal with have been hurt in the past and carry a load of baggage. Sometimes school has hurt them; sometimes family and friends have hurt them. These are the ones that educators must reach. Administrators try to help teachers do that. One way they do that is by bringing in high priced consultants who did something that worked so well that they retired from the field to go around telling their story and advising others how to get those same results. I remember trying some of those ideas and failing. It wasn’t until I realized that I was me, not that consultant, and that my kids were different than his/her kids that I stopped beating myself up for failing and, eventually, ignoring their advice.
Sometimes you need to ignore advice if it doesn’t work in your situation. Sometimes you need to consider the source of the advice. Rehoboam ignored the advice of his older councilors and heeded the advice of his younger councilors only to see the Kingdom of Israel torn in two. Balak, king of Moab, saw the Israelites approaching the Promised Land and had heard what they had done to the Amorites. He was scared, so he sought a prophet and promised him riches to curse the Israelites. What he got was a word from the Lord. He didn’t like it. “Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!’ He answered, ‘Must I not speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?’” (Numbers 23:11-12)
What Balak didn’t realize when he summoned Balaam was that Balaam listened to the one, true God. What was worse for him was that he didn’t realize that the Israelites were God’s chosen people. So, he offered great wealth to Balaam to curse God’s people and he didn’t get his money’s worth. Balaam blessed his enemies. He took Balaam to a different vantage point to see if that view would give Balaam a chance to curse the Israelites. Nothing doing – he blessed them again. Balak had at least two problems he was dealing with. First, he thought that Balaam could be bought when Balaam listed to God. Balaam wasn’t going to curse those whom God had blessed. His biggest problem, though, was that rather than recognize that the power of God was with the Israelites, as evidenced by the failure of big bucks to entice a curse, and find a way to seek an alliance with them, he continued to fight their passage into the Holy Land. I’m sure I’m not telling you any spoilers when I say that he lost that fight.
We shake our heads and chuckle at the futility of Balak’s quest while at the same time we ignore God’s word for us. We seek God’s leadership only to decide once we hear it whether or not we’re going to follow His guidance. Interestingly enough, we see when others ignore how God is leading them, but we know that we’re right and so we miss God’s leadership in our lives. If God’s word tells us something different than we want, we search another area of God’s word. If a sermon gives us guidance that is different from what we desire, the pastor had an off day. You get the picture. The key to hearing from God is a humble heart and a commitment to doing whatever He leads you to do. Rather than letting God know what plans I want Him to bless and make His will, I need to seek His will and let Him reveal the best plan for me. I need to give up control. I need to stop living a life of “ready, fire, aim” and humbly seek His guidance and leadership. It’s painful to do that, because I need to admit that sometimes I’m wrong. The result of living by faith, though, is fellowship with God in an amazing way, every day.
Oh Lord, I come to You today and I ask You to help me be humble. Help me to put aside my way of doing things and my desires so that I can follow Your leadership in all areas of my life.