We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


Blocked Vision, Part 2

Yesterday we looked at the talking donkey of Numbers 22 and the prophet Balaam who was unable to see and hear from God nor speak for God. Before we go further it would help if we had a little more background. In Numbers 22, it is the king of Moab who summons Balaam after he sees a great hoard of people coming toward his kingdom. Fearing the worst, he calls the prophet Balaam to come and curse this multitude. But God tells Balaam not to curse but to bless. The king doesn’t give up; he promises the prophet great riches if he will curse the multitude. So Balaam petitions the Lord again and finally gets the green light–with one exception. He is to go only if they ask him to do so, and he must follow God’s instructions exactly.

At first glance, there seems to be a paradox. In verse 21 God tells Balaam that he can go and in verse 22 Balaam rises and goes. All seems to be going according to plan, except for one minor glitch-God is angry that he went! It appears as if God can’t make up His mind, but we know better than that. So what’s up?

The first problem is that Balaam didn’t do exactly what the Lord told him. He went with the king’s men without being summoned. Not only did he violate God’s explicit command to remain unless he was called, but he took 2 of his servants with him–again, without God’s permission. Balaam is going to travel with some pomp and circumstance of his own. He too has servants under him as he proudly joins the elite company of the king. On the surface this may not seem like an infraction of God’s command, but it reveals more than meets the eye. In fact, that’s the problem. Balaam is the prophet and is supposed to see. Instead, the donkey sees what Balaam cannot. What appears to be zeal to do God’s work is in reality a selfish ambition for reward. Balaam’s vision is blocked not only by pride, which we looked at yesterday, but by greed.

Are there roadblocks in your life today? Are you facing obstacles of frustration and walls of constraint? I have seen many in this life who have been emotionally, mentally, and spiritually shipwrecked because, while thinking they were acting on behalf of God’s authority, they were blinded by the real motive of greed.

Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment