Monday, August 8, 2011

True Obedience

2 Peter 2:14-16

Recently, I was offered an opportunity that I desperately wanted to take; however, when I prayed God made it very clear that I was not to grab a hold of that opportunity.  While God did not explain why, I understood that I was to continue on with what was already on my plate.  Disappointed, I had to go back and tell the person that I was not to do it.  Thankfully, this person completely respected the fact that I felt God telling me "no" and didn't push and let it go.  The reality is that I do not want to walk out of what God wants for me - if He doesn't want it for me then I don't want it (even if it is tempting).  But I do pray that God will always give me the strength to do what He wants and that I can resist doing what I feel would be best.  The situation I want to look at today is one that is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:14-16.  Please look it up.

Peter makes an example out of Balaam in these verses so we can have a comparison of what a person will do to satisfy their greed.  My original intention was to write one post on Balaam; however, as I have studied it a little further, I would like to look at this story both today and tomorrow.  I have to admit there were a few things in the story of Balaam that I found confusing and I would like to share a little of what I have learned by digging into my questions a little deeper.  Please read Numbers 22 (I promise that you will be tempted to continue reading into chapter 23) and begin reading why Peter used him as an example.  When I first read this chapter I was confused why God told Balaam to go with the men and then was angry (the Hebrew word used in verse 22 conveys a deep anger - furious) I didn't understand.  I looked in Matthew Henry's commentary and it helped me to understand the situation much better.

Balaam received some visitors who wanted him to curse Israel.  Balaam had originally told the men that he would only do what God told him to do and after consulting God, he told them that he couldn't go.  When the men returned a second time, he said he would consult God again.  This was part of the first mistake - God had already told him no and he didn't need to ask again.  Those of you who are parents can relate when you tell your child no and they come and ask again maybe because a friend encourages them to try again.  I know that makes me frustrated because I felt that my "no" was clear the first time I said it.  God's reaction is one that we should note - we may ask Him for direction; however, if we do not want to follow it when He gives it to us He will allow us to follow our own destructive plans.  Just because God allows it doesn't mean it is the right thing to do.  How many times have I had God tell me something more than once before I obeyed?

Our God is One who will continue to make His plans succeed whether or not we humans are following Him.  In this case, He got Balaam's attention by having his donkey talk to him on his journey.  Matthew Henry draws attention to the fact that Balaam beat the donkey each time he faced resistance because he wanted to continue on his own plans.  We will see that as well when we are looking at those who will lead people away from God for their own gain.  They will stop at nothing and will continue on their road to destruction just so they can have earthly gain.  As we have been reading in 2 Peter 2, this is a path that is not worth taking.  Don't follow them - follow God.

Do you trust God to lead you where you should go?  Are you willing to obey the first time He asks?

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