Numbers 24:12-13 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak’?
I love the story of Balaam. The guy was not a good dude. He was a prophet, but not the kind that listened to God. He had his own ways of doing things. Sorcery was his usual means to gaining information and he was sought out by Balak to place a curse on God’s people. The problem (at least for Balak) is that God got to Balaam first. He was told by God that only what the Lord commanded him to speak, is what would be said. Then God reinforced His message through an encounter Balaam had with an angel, a broken foot and a donkey (Read Numbers 22). I love that after it was really drilled into his head that God was serious, nothing could sway Balaam from speaking what God said to him. Instead of curses, Balaam blessed Israel. Not just once, but three times. Regardless of how many times Balak threatened him, Balaam knew who the boss was – and obeyed. And he told Balak how it was. That nothing could keep him from delivering the messages of the Lord.
Sometimes I take God’s word as suggestions. One of many options, not necessarily my only one. I forget that He is GOD. Yes, the Lord desires my close friendship. I want to know His voice intimately, to be near to Him. But I run the risk with familiarity of thinking that maybe I know what God really means…instead of just looking at what He says. I try to read into things, figure them out in a more palatable way by passing them thru my own sieve.
There are things in scripture that rub me the wrong way, that I want to explain somehow in a manner that doesn’t bother me so much. I’m sure Balaam would have rather been a posh rich mouthpiece for the stuff he’d been dabbling in as a “prophet” than actually speaking the truth, straight from the horse’s mouth (that’s a joke…those of you who read the 22nd chapter of Numbers will know what I mean). Saying what God told him to got him into trouble with some powerful people. It certainly was not what they wanted to hear. Speaking the Lord’s word in my life is uncomfortable sometimes – it makes me seem strange, unlike other people. These verses today reminded me of who God is. He’s the man. He has seen it all, knows it all. His word is not an opinion. It’s not a nice story that has no real value. It is truth. So how can I say anything but what He said?