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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’”—Numbers 22:28 (NIV)
The above verse records for us the significance of following God’s Word. As Israel was about to take possession of the land promised to them by God, they first had to traverse the land of the Ammonites and Moabites. The Israelites had camped outside Moab’s doorstep and were ready to settle in the land given to them by God. So Balak, king of Moab, enlisted a prophet named Baalam to send a curse on the Israelites.
Baalam’s ability to effectively curse a nation was confirmed by God’s command for him to refrain from doing so. Although God told him to desist, Balaam inquired two additional times about cursing Balak’s enemies. This further supports the notion that Balaam was indeed a “prophet” who chose to disregard God’s command. As Balaam saddled his donkey to meet with Moab’s king, he was confronted with an angel of God who obstructed the path. As the “prophet” attempted to move forward, his donkey kept stopping. After Balaam beat his donkey three times, God opened the mouth of the donkey. Imagine that—the Bible records an animal that spoke! The only thing more surprising than a donkey’s ability to speak is Balaam’s decision to respond.
How often have you tried to “go around” God? At one time or another, most of us are guilty. It’s akin to a child asking permission from one parent only to inquire of the other when disagreeing with the former’s response. We beg and plead with the hope of convincing God that our way is best. When that fails, we bargain: “Lord, if you grant me this request, I promise to . . .”
God’s Word speaks to this sinful approach by reminding us that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Old Testament nation of Israel had a history of “going around” God. God’s perfect will always entails and expects immediate obedience. His permissive will allows us enough rope to remind us that our disobedience always comes with a price. How much would you like to pay?
DIG: Recall a time when a decision to disobey God’s prompting had a negative impact. What was the result?
DISCOVER: There are numerous instances in the Bible whereby a delay in obeying led to disaster. Can you think of three?
DISPLAY: Pray and ask God to remind you to submit to His leading at all times.