Balaam: A Story of Obedience

One of my goals for 2009 includes reading the Bible thru. My reading a few days ago was Numbers 22-24. Here we find the story of Balaam and Balak. Briefly, Balak, king of Moab, had seen how powerful the Israelites were and was afraid. So, he sent for Balaam instructing him to curse the Israelites. However, God came to Balaam and told him he was not to curse them. Instead, Balaam was to do only what God told him to do. The story goes on to describe how Balak repeatedly asked Balaam to curse Israel and how Balaam turned to God and did as He instructed.

What struck me most about reading these passages was Balaam’s obedience to God. Each time Balak asked him why he did not curse the Israelites, Balaam’s answer was always the same.

He answered, “Shouldn’t I say exactly what the Lord puts in my mouth?” (Numbers 23:12)

But Balaam answered him, “Didn’t I tell you: Whatever the Lord says, I must do?” (23:26)

Balaam answered Balak, “Didn’t I previously tell the messengers you sent me: If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go against the Lord’s command, to do [anything] good or bad of my own will? I will say whatever the Lord says.” (24:12-13)

I have read this Scripture before and even remember a sermon based on part of the story, but this was the first time I had really thought about Balaam’s obedience. Here was a man that trusted God and was completely obedient to His commands. He did not waver when confronted by the Moabite king. His devotion and obedience was to God alone!

That’s the kind of obedience I strive for. I want to turn to Him for direction and wisdom in everything. I’ll admit I’m not there yet, but I am heading in the right direction. My prayer is that I’ll be like Balaam and be totally obedient to the Lord.

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