03/06/22 Not a Word

READING: Numbers 22:1-24:25

I’ve read today’s story many times before, and still I laugh when I read about Balaam’s donkey talking to him. I can just see and hear that animal say to him, “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” and “I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life. . . . Have I ever done anything like this before?” (Num 22:28, 30). And, Balaam responded to him almost as if they had had conversations before—seemingly without surprise. It’s all comical in a sense. 

Nevertheless, this story teaches us something much more significant: no one has power to overtake the God of the Hebrews. Balak called Balaam to curse the Israelites, not only because their forces were many, but also because Balak had heard about previous victories the Lord had given His people. Balak needed the Israelites under a curse so his forces might defeat them; for that reason, he sought Balaam’s services.

What Balaam would learn, though, is that he could speak only what the Lord required him to speak:

  • “But do only what I [God] tell you to do.” (Num 22:20)
  • “. . . say only what I tell you to say.” (Num 22:35)
  • “I [Balaam] have no power to say whatever I want. I will speak only the message that God puts in my mouth.” (Num 22:38)
  • “I will speak only the message that the Lord puts in my mouth.” (Num 23:12)
  • “Didn’t I tell you that I can do only what the Lord tells me?” (Num 23:26)
  • “I told you that I could say only what the Lord says!” (Num 24:13)

The entire story of Balaam suggests he was nothing more than a pagan seer seeking his own gain, but he nevertheless reminds us of something we teachers and preachers must remember this Lord’s day: we are to speak only that which God tells us to speak. 

PERSONAL REFLECTION: If you are a church leader, how often do you consider God’s mandate to proclaim only His Word?                

TODAY’S PRAYER: “God, help me to speak only what You want today—in all my relationships.”          

TOMORROW’S READING: Numbers 25:1-26:65

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