Today we’ll read Numbers 22, Luke 17 and Psalm 32 from the Common English Version.
May God bless the reading of His Word.
Yesterday it was the King James Version, today the Common English Version. Quite a contrast.
If this were Sesame Street, I would say that today’s chapter from Numbers was brought to you by the letter “B”. Balaam, Balak, Bamoth-Baal, Beor.
So what did you think about the situation with Balaam and God at first denying him permission to go to see Balak, and then telling him it was okay to go, and then being mad that he did go? Were you confused by that? Is God a capricious God?
Of course not. But I was confused, too. So I did some digging, and here is what I found.
Balak sent messengers first to ask Balaam to come and curse the Israelites. God told Balaam not to go since He, God, had blessed them. Then Balak sent even more distinguished messengers, with the additional message that he would confer great honor upon Balaam, in effect Balak was attempting to bribe Balaam. This appears to have been a bit of a temptation to Balaam, even though he said with his lips that even if Balak gave him enough silver and gold to fill a house, he could not do anything against what God had told him…he told the messengers that he would see if God had anything else to say on the matter.
This seems to be the crux of the matter. God told Balaam that the people were blessed. Why would he expect that God would say anything different about cursing people whom He blessed?
Here is what God said, and the version we’re reading today doesn’t convey the original meaning well. Commentators agree that what God said was, “If the men come to you, then you may go with them.”
Let’s stop here for a moment. This is an important point. God allows us to do many things that He does not endorse. Right? Sometimes He will allow us to succumb to our own wicked and lustful hearts. He allows us, in effect, to touch the hot stove to see that it will burn us. I can imagine Balaam laying in his bed that night, thinking how cool it was that these important visitors had come to his humble home. He felt important. And I can also imagine him laying there fantasizing about the honors that Balak would bestow on him once he arrived. He got to thinking, perhaps, about the palace full of silver and gold.
So what happened next? Remember, God said, “If the men come to you…”. What happened was this: Balaam got up the next morning and saddled his donkey and went with the men. Scripture doesn’t say, “When they came to get him, he went.” It says, “He got up and went.”
It appears that he was too eager, that he didn’t follow God’s direction to the letter.
Remember, the reason that Balak sent for Balaam was so that Balaam would come and curse the Israelites. God’s chosen people. God does not look with favor upon those who conspire to harm His people, or those who seek to gain favor with those who conspire to harm his people.
So God became angry at Balaam. Does that help your understanding? Let me know. Steve@lifespringmedia.com or on the Lifespring Media fb page.
I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks for being with me today. Tell a friend about the Lifespring Family Audio Bible. Write a review at iTunes. Pray for me. Until tomorrow, may God bless you richly. I’m Steve Webb.