February 27 - Nº 58 Numbers 21:10-35; 22:1-34
Many of the nations they passed through on their way to the Promised Land sent armies to attack the Israelites, but God helped His people win every battle. They soon arrived in the valley of Moab. Moab was ruled by a man named Balak. He was terrified when he realized that the huge group of people who had just defeated so many of his neighbors was now gathering in his valley. He asked the king of the Midianites for help. Together the two nations sent a delegation of leaders to a pagan prophet (or sorcerer) named Balaam. They carried money and this message, “Come quickly and put a curse on these people so we can defeat them and drive them away.” They had heard that whoever the sorcerer blessed would be blessed, and whoever he cursed would be cursed. When the delegation arrived, Balaam invited them to spend the night. In the morning he would tell them what God wanted him to do. That night God actually showed up and warned Balaam not to go. He told him not to put a curse on the Israelites because they were a nation He had chosen to bless. They were the nation through whom He would send the Messiah. When his representatives returned with this report, King Balak sent back an even bigger delegation with even more officials and the promise of an even greater amount of money. Balaam insisted that it wasn’t the amount of money that was keeping him from going—it was God! At that point, he should have sent the delegation away, but he let them stay. That night he “re-questioned” God just to see if perhaps He had changed His mind. God showed up again and told Balaam that he could go to Moab, but he must only do what God told him to do. The truth is, God was not pleased that Balaam had chosen to question Him again. He had made His answer clear the first time! The next morning, Balaam saddled his donkey and left with the officials. As he traveled to Moab, an Angel of the Lord stood in the path with a sword in his hand. The donkey could see the Angel, but Balaam and his servants could not. The donkey took off running into a field. Balaam hit her until she got back on the road. This happened again in a narrow gorge. The donkey pushed against the rocks on one side to get around the angel. She ended up trapping Balaam’s foot. Again he beat her. The angel showed up one more time in a cavern so narrow there was no room to turn right or left. So the donkey crouched down under Balaam. Balaam was so angry that he hit her with his staff. But this time, God chose to open the donkey’s mouth and let it ask, “Why have you beaten me three times?” Balaam responded, “Because you are making me look like a fool. If I had a sword, I would kill you.” Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes. Suddenly he could see the Angel of the Lord standing in the path with his sword drawn. As Balaam fell on his knees with his face to the ground, the Angel said, “I have come to stop you because you have made a reckless decision. The donkey saved your life by responding to me.” Balaam realized that he had sinned when he had questioned God.
Do you find yourself “re-questioning” God when His answers don’t fit your desires? Do you find yourself torn between honoring His instructions or doing what you desire? Our commitment must always be to obey God first—100% of the time!