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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Of My Own Accord

If you are familiar with Numbers 22 – 24, you know it is the account of the king of Moab, Balak, and his attempt to get a prophet, Balaam to curse Israel.  Did not go well for Balak.
Of My Own Accord
It is a great story.  Peter references it in 2 Peter 2:15 – 16.  Balaam gets a fairly negative evaluation but his commitment to the Word of God is strong.  Look at Numbers 24:13.  The key for me there is that Balaam is committed to say nothing other than what God has said.

Good idea.

There are things in the Bible that run counter both our culture and the choices that our culture is making.  There are those in the Church that work hard at making the Bible agree with the culture.  Balaam was under that kind of pressure.  For him it was external, Balak continually requested Balaam to go against what the Lord was saying.  Balaam refused.  He was committed to say and do only what the Lord said.

That was a choice.  It is a choice for every believer, every community of faith, large or small.  It is a choice to follow and be true to what the Lord has said in His Word.  Not to do so is to follow a different agenda than God’s.  To work at making the text say something other than what the grammar and vocabulary says in order to “align” it with what one wants it to say is to be committed to one’s agenda over and above God’s.

While that may make it easier to get along with the world.  That is not behavior about which I wish to give account.

If we have to really work hard with a passage to get it to say something other than what someone who is reading it for the first time would understand it to say; it would probably be a great idea to check our motives.

1 comment:

  1. This gets down to our heart attitude, doesn't it? (A sincere question.) In trying to read thoughtfully through Deuteronomy there are frequent exhortations by Moses as he lays out his summary of the Law God had given the nation in the wilderness as they had come out of bondage and slavery in Egypt. This was a new generation as nearly all if the generation who had received the original revelations had died in the intervening 40 years because of their refusal to trust God and enter the land as God had ordered them.

    For example, in Ch. 26:17: "This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances...with all your heart and with all your soul."

    This says to me that mere obedience to a law just because it is a law is not God's desire. We know the entire Law is wrapped up in "love the Lord (my) God...and love (my) neighbor...."

    Thank you, Mike, for pointing out Balaam's commitment to Gods words. I don't think I would have ever seen that. And it makes the illustration all the more scary. It suggests I can be passionate about the Words of God, know them, memorize them, study them, and still risk terrible error because my attitude is not one of love for God, but one that will lead to shipwreck of my faith. I'm guessing the Balaam's "functional idol" was money and his affection avarice.

    I love what some of the old Puritans taught on this, that the only way I can break one affection (e.g., avarice) is to replace it with a stronger affection, love for Christ. Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I may be transformed.

    May the Lord make it so in my life! And I'd love and appreciate some feedback from anyone on this.