By Glenn Metts
Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Carthage
God calls individuals and uses whatever He chooses to accomplish His purposes in the world. Today’s passage is somewhat humorous in that God can even use a donkey! God used a donkey to speak in order to get the attention of Balaam, a well-known Mesopotamian diviner. If God will speak to and use a man like Balaam, God certainly calls His followers to represent Him and His purposes in this world. As followers of Christ, we need to be ready to respond obediently when God calls.
In Numbers 22:22-35, we read that Balaam got up the morning after God had spoken to him. The Lord told him he could go with the men sent by King Balak from Moab. However, he was only to do what the Lord instructed him to do. When we pick up in verse 22, we see that “God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him.” Some scholars believe that Balaam had in his heart to act beyond what God had spoken to him. God countered Balaam by appearing as the angel of the Lord. As our lesson points out in our Explore the Bible series, the Hebrew term rendered angel means “messenger” or “representative.” The angel that confronted was more than a messenger of the Lord; he was a special manifestation of God.
Balaam didn’t realize that the angel of the Lord was standing in the path to prevent him from going forward. After beating his donkey because the animal refused to go forward, God allowed the donkey to speak to Balaam. Balaam’s eyes were opened and he saw the angel of the Lord. He realized his sin and learned a powerful lesson. When God calls and gives you instructions, He expects complete obedience from those that represent Him.
Another truth we would do well to remember is that God protects His purposes and what He is doing in the world. Our God is Sovereign and He is in control. As followers of Christ, we should examine our own hearts to make sure they line up with God’s purposes. When God calls, we should respond with complete obedience. R.C. Sproul said this: “We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.”
As followers of Christ, no matter what our position or title, no matter what our job is, we are called to represent the Lord and His purposes in the world. He has made His will known to us by His Word. As we learn to position ourselves to hear from the Lord, He will guide us daily to serve Him as we go about our lives. We position ourselves to hear from God by loving Him, worshiping Him, and making time in His Word and prayer a priority.
Henry Blackaby shares this thought, “If Christians around the world were to suddenly renounce their personal agendas, their life goals and their aspirations, and begin responding in radical obedience to everything God showed them, the world would be turned upside down. How do we know? Because that’s what the first century Christians did, and the world is still talking about it.” May we learn to respond to God’s call on our lives as believers with that kind of radical obedience.