Have you ever had a conversation with God? You know, a two-way conversation where God is talking to you too? Have you ever had to stand firm in what God wants you to do even when your friends pressure you to turn the other way? A man in the Bible was tested in the whole area of standing firm in Christ. What I appreciate about his story is that Balaam talked to God, obeyed God in the face of adversity, and was a normal human being like you and me–he messed up! Balaam’s story begins with a summoning from the King of the Moabites, Balak, requests him to curse the nation of Israel because he is afraid that the Israelites with destroy his people. So messengers talk to Balaam and Balaam has them spend the night so that he can talk to God. (He put his first priority first–what did Jesus want him to do?) Well, that night, Balaam and God had a nice chat that ended with God ordering Balaam to refuse Balak’s wish of cursing the Israelites because they were blessed by God. This won’t stop King Balak, however. He then sends more messengers to Balaam and offers him insurmountable riches if he will only curse the Israelites. Balaam stands firm in what God has told him to do and refuses the King’s bribes. But, a twist in the story occurs when God tells Balaam to actually travel with the messengers to go and see King Balak. God warns Balaam however, to only say what the Lord orders him to say and do. Balaam sets out on his journey riding a donkey. In the middle of the road trip, the donkey stops because she sees an angel in the road that is going to kill Balaam. Balaam gets pretty mad at his donkey and beats her and orders her to move on! Finally God revealed the angel to Balaam. And boy did Balaam see the mistake that he had made and he repented of it. He should have trusted his donkey (I know that sounds weird, but work with me here!). Finally Balaam arrives and he actually blesses the nation of Israel instead of cursing them. Boy was King Balak mad! But at the end of the day, Balaam obeyed his God before he obeyed men. To read the story for yourself, check it out in Numbers 22-23.
So there are some amazing principles that we can draw out of Balaam’s story.
- Before making any decisions, stop and talk to God first. By talking to Jesus first and foremost, we can be sure to be in His plans for our lives. If we just rush ahead and go with our own plans, we could be devastated in the long run.
- Go Slow. By making decisions slowly (but not at a turtle pace!) you can make a wise decision. Also, remember that you need information to make a decision. An uninformed decision is an unwise decision. Take the time to research and gather the facts before moving forward.
- Stand firm in what Jesus tells you to do. Do not sway to the right or to the left…keep following that narrow course. People will offer you money, friendships, experiences, etc. But do not fall into their trap. At the end of the day, someone who is bribing you to do what they want does not care about you at all–they only care about what they want! Stand strong in Jesus!