Sometimes, you don’t need a “new” approach…

Who in this family loves how Zippy and Zoe lick e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g? No one does, of course. We have tried multiple approaches to get them to stop, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. We try distracting them, calling and telling them to stop, and even squirting them with a water bottle sprayer. Unfortunately, up to this point, we have been unsuccessful.

It is ok to try different approaches when trying to resolve a problem like this. It is a futile thing to try multiple approaches to something that God has already made clear is not His will. This is what Balak is doing in the book of Numbers with Balaam. Num. 23:13 describes his second attempt and “brilliant” idea. Think back on this story, its the one with the talking donkey. Balak, a neighboring country’s leader, sees the Israelites camped on his borders. He has heard the news of their powerful God and is afraid of them. He asks Balaam, a renowned “diviner”, to curse the Israelites for him. Instead, Balaam ends up blessing them. It is at this point that Balak thinks he should try a different approach, literally. Balak invites Balaam to “please come to another place.” Essentially, it is his hope that from this “other” place, where Balaam apparently could not see “them all”, he will be able to curse them. Balak thought it was a location problem. It was not, it was a God problem. He did not understand God. He did not understand the futility of hoping and fighting against God’s sovereign will. He tried 3 different approaches, which we know from Scripture, all failed. It was completely and utterly futile for Balak (and Balaam) to think all they needed was a different “angle”. God had made very clear what His intentions and will were, and that is precisely what happened. 

We may not always know exact details of God’s will, as Balaam’s blessings spelled out in Numbers 23. We may not have details like the name of the college to go to or the name of the person we will marry, but we do know more of God’s will than we probably think. It is His will that we love one another. It is God’s will that we not be “unequally yoked” to an unbeliever. It is God’s will that we be hospitable to those around us. It is God’s will that we do not complain or gossip. These are clear. Fighting to go against these things and choosing a path against these things is also futile. It is as futile as Balaam’s attempt to curse the Israelites from a different vantage point. When we choose not to love one another, whatever we are trying to accomplish in an acquaintance or friendship, will not succeed. When we complain or gossip, relationships and our testimony are destroyed, not improved. Ask any believer who chose to marry an unbeliever how that is working out compared to how they hoped it would. 

Balak and Balaam are a testimony to the futility of a life fighting against God. No vantage point or approach will ever succeed against God’s sovereign will. Can you imagine what might have happened, if instead, Balak or Balaam had humbled themselves before God at this pivotal moment and began to worship him, submitting to His will? Can you imagine what would happen in our lives, if we sought daily to fulfill God’s will as obedient servant’s of the one true God? When you and I are tempted to try another approach to what we already know is not God’s desire for us, may we be reminded of the futility of such a choice, and instead, obey what we already know to be His very clear will.

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