At the risk of sounding irreverent, this story reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book, “Green Eggs and Ham”. Balak wanted Balaam to speak a curse over the Israelites and he contrived many different ways to make this happen, all to no result.
Could you, would you, in a box? How about with a fox? Here or there? How about anywhere? Of course, in “Green Eggs and Ham”, the outcome was very different as the guy ended up actually liking green eggs and ham and it ended on a high note.
In this story, Balaam is known as a man to whom “blessings fall on any people you bless, and curses fall on people you curse.” (top of p 243) The problem was that Balak, king of Moab, was trying to get Balaam to curse the Israelites, God’s chosen and protected people. God clearly told Balaam not to curse the Israelites. Balaam starts out great, seeming to be a valiant force for God, but it all falls apart when he lays out the surrender flag by saying “But stay here one more night, and I will see if the Lord has anything else to say to me.”
What is this “anything else” of which he speaks? What’s going on in Balaam’s mind? Why is he playing dumb, as if God might change his mind and decide to curse His own people? Was he indulging in a sense of self-importance, wanting to stretch it out and make it last longer?
I think about myself. What do I do when I have clearly heard what God wants of me? Do I seek new and clever ways to get out of doing what He has already told me? Do I go back to God “one more time” just to be sure and pretend that this makes me a careful Christian? Do I even want to be a “careful Christian”? What would life this side of heaven be like if I more immediately obeyed God’s voice, certainly His rhema words?
What I know for sure is that every single time I have obeyed… something big and amazing and life-changing and soul-satisfying happens – every time. All it takes is getting over all of my protestations and pleadings with Him that I might just check “one more time” if I heard him correctly. The older I get, the less I’m willing to settle for this watered-down version of the vibrant Christian life. How about you?