|Balaam and Balak - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people. … Then Balaam said to Balak, 'Stand by your burnt offering and I will go; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me, I will tell you.' So he went to a desolate height." Numbers 22:41,23:3
Balak takes Balaam to a high place of Baal worship to pronounce his curse on Israel. This is a high place in several ways. It is elevated ground where the Moabites sacrifice to their god Baal. It is also a good vantage point from which to view the mass of Israelites.
Here Balaam, who really has only himself to blame for being in this squeeze between Balak and God, shows some good sense at last. He excuses himself from the highly charged scene of the smoking altars and the anxious attention of Balak, his princes and priests, to climb to a "desolate height" to meet alone with God.
It's apparent that he has met with God enough times to know the conditions needed to hear from Him and that they won't be on Baal's high place. He is also aware of the importance of saying the right thing over Israel—brought home to him by the sword-wielding Angel of the Lord who had warned him: "… only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak" - Numbers 22:35. So he separates himself from Balak, his potential earthly benefactor, to meet with God, his ultimate source of being and blessing.
Do we have similar wisdom? When we're offered that new job that has better pay but dictates we spend more time away from our young family; when we're tempted to take on yet another volunteer task; when even good ministry opportunities come knocking—do we take ourselves out of the situation to hear from God before we give our answer?
Balaam comes down from his meeting with God to deliver a word that spares him God's disapproval and blesses Israel, though it sure doesn't make Balak happy! Removing ourselves from the vantage point of this temporal world and its pressures to the higher place of God's eternal point of view may have as much impact on our future and the future of those we love.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to habitually consult with You before I make big—and small life decisions. 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.