Tag Archives: Numbers 24

Balak’s an Idiot (and so am I)

Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed themthese three times.”
Numbers 24:10 (NIV)

Yesterday morning, after writing my post and finishing my quiet time, I settled in at the breakfast table. Wendy was just finishing reading our previous chapter as she waited for me.

Balak is an idiot,” she said with a chuckle and shake of her head.

I laughed, and agreed with her. The narrative clearly portrays the Moabite king as not being the sharpest tool in the shed. Balaam the seer clearly spoke the terms up front to Balak. He would say only what the Lord told him to say, no matter how much treasure Balak offered Balaam to say what he wanted to hear.

Nevertheless, Balak makes Balaam view the Hebrew encampment from three different vantage points, expecting Balaam’s prophetic message to change with the view. When the prophecy doesn’t change to his favor, Balak tells Balaam that he’s not going to pay. Duh. Balaam reminds Balak that he knew that up front.

It is out of Alcoholics Anonymous that we got the popular notion that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It appears Balak could have benefitted from the Twelve Steps.

In the quiet this morning, however, I’m reminded that I can often find my own reflection in the individuals I criticize. There are stretches of my own journey in which I was looped in endless cycles of brokenness. Truth be told, I have found that significant spiritual progress usually requires breaking systemic negative patterns of thought or behavior. The further you progress the deeper, more intimate, and less obvious those negative patterns are to the casual observer. Recovering Alcoholics will tell you that they once thought drinking was their problem. Journeying through the Twelve Steps you discover that your addiction is just the tip of the iceberg.

This morning as I laugh at King Balak’s idiocy, I have to humbly confess that I am also laughing at myself.

Have a good weekend, my friend.

Chapter-a-Day Numbers 24

So nobody knew WHAT to wear
Image by #2 Son/John (busy) via Flickr

Decree of Balaam son of Beor,
yes, decree of a man with 20/20 vision;
Decree of a man who hears God speak,
who sees what The Strong God shows him,
Who falls on his face in worship,
who sees what’s really going on. Numbers 24:3-9 (MSG)

Garrison Keillor once said of his hometown newspaper that it wasn’t really the news, it was simply a table of contents to what was really going on. Having lived in a couple of small towns, I get exactly what he’s saying. The events that everyone is talking about in the coffee shop rarely make it into print. If you read the newspaper you’ll never know the whole story.

Life happens on so many levels. There area human events, but things are constantly happening on a relational level, and emotional level, and even on a spiritual level. Jesus said that a person was blessed who could discern the truth of what was happening in the spiritual realm even when they did not see it with their eyes. He spoke of many of his followers as have ears to hear his words but never discerning the depth of what He was saying on a spiritual level.

Even though he was not one of “God’s people,” God had given Balaam the ability to see with 20/20 vision what God was really doing with Moses and his followers in the big picture. He stands as a model of what Jesus told his followers they should be: “shrewd as serpents; gentle as doves.”

Today, I’m asking God to increasingly give me discernment to perceive what my eyes do not see and my ears do not hear. When it comes to what God is doing in the spiritual realm, I want to have 20/20 vision. I want to see what’s really going on.

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