Saturday, March 14, 2015

A way God calls "perverse"

"Balaam's Eyes Were Opened" 
Artist Unknown 
From Treasures of the Bible (Moses)

"Balaam's Eyes Were Opened"   Artist Unknown
"Balaam's Eyes Were Opened"
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Numbers 22:22-40

"And the Angel of the Lord said to him, 'Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me.' " Numbers 22:32

Balaam really does want to go with Balak's men. His hastily acquired permission (Numbers 22:20) means that the morning after the second delegation arrives, he is on his way back to Balak with them (though there is no record that God's condition: "'If the men come to call you…'" is ever met).

What happens next on the road—the donkey crushing Balaam's foot, lying down, refusing to go further and actually speaking to Balaam—is a familiar Sunday School story. The Angel of the LORD's words (God's words) to Balaam are sobering (Numbers 22:32-33). He describes Balaam's way as "perverse."

[Perverse - yarat means to precipitate, to be precipitate, to push headlong, drive recklessly.]

The use of that word gives us the sense that Balaam's decision to go with Balak's men is impulsive, reckless, and headstrong. Peter gives us a clue about his motivation. He really did want all that stuff, that attention, that honor:
 "They (Peter, referring here to false teachers) have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness…" - 2 Peter 2:15.

In Balaam's reaction we see a flashing caution light for ourselves and our own tendencies to impetuously push ahead with what we want to do. I like how Priscilla Shirer expresses it:

"I am learning that God will use the appropriate means to reveal His will in His timing. … If you feel an overwhelming urge to act spontaneously, pull in the reins" - Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, pp. 92,93

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be aware of my own tendency to act on my own, rashly, spontaneously, and recklessly. Help me, instead, to wait for Your clear timing and direction before I move ahead with plans and projects. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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