Scripture to reflect upon: Numbers 22: 32 and 34 (NIV)
"The angel of the Lord asked him, 'Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.' Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, 'I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing there in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.'”
Closely evaluating this scripture from verses 21-34, we understand that Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord, but Balaam did not, which is why he beat his donkey several times. Eventually God allows the donkey to speak! He basically says, “Hey man! What’s your problem?! I’m your donkey! I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t need to protect you.”
Sometimes it takes an ass to show us our faults, but instead of heeding the warning, we take issues with the messenger. We mentally or verbally beat up on those who call us out and try to protect us.
Balaam had no idea—NO IDEA!!—he was sinning against the Lord. God told him to go to Balak, but this scripture indicates that Balaam was maybe lured by the reward rather than the command of God. “Your path is a reckless one before me.” This reiterates the notion that God knows the heart. You may think you’re on the right path, but your heart is leading the way. Where is your heart taking you then?
God may lead us somewhere, but once He does, what are our intentions? Are we seeking glory or a reward in return? Balaam, who was keen to God’s spirit and presence didn’t have a clue that the angel of the Lord was before him. He purposely had his eyes closed to the spirit. That’s what sin does. It makes us blind. It makes us seek our ways with our own eyes rather than God’s. We somehow think we can direct our own path without the guidance of God Almighty.
Balaam suddenly realizes his sin—or so he thinks—and says, “If you are displeased, I’ll go back.” Going wasn’t the sin! God told him to go (v. 20). This indicates that Balaam still didn’t understand his sin, and the angel had to repeat what God told him in the first place.
How many times does God need to tell you to do something in order for you to fully understand what it is He’s relaying to you? Are you misunderstanding God’s plan for something that only makes you happy or content?
NOTE TO SELF: God provided a way to speak to you, but you need to listen closely. God may be opposing the very path He set you on. God doesn’t want you to go back, either. He wants you to move forward, but only with His guidance and approval. Even if you’re on the wrong path, an angel of the Lord is standing before you to lead the way.
Read more articles by Tristine Fleming or search for articles on the same topic or others.