NUMBERS 22:22: “But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.”
OBSERVATION: What is the true motivation of my heart? The story of Balak and Balaam speaks to this question with great insight. The Bible gives us insight into this account as we read additional verses in the New Testament. It is apparent from these verses that the account in Numbers does not reveal the entire story.
At first glance it seems strange that the Lord would tell Balaam to go with the men Balak had sent, and then to send an angel of the Lord to withstand him along the way. Balaam was blind to the angel of the Lord’s presence, but the donkey wasn’t. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord with sword drawn and saved Balaam’s life. This account is a Sunday School favorite.
What was going on? There is difference between outward appearance and the true inner attitude of the heart. Outwardly Balaam was obeying the command of the Lord. Yet, inwardly, as he traveled to Moab to meet Balak, he was scheming on how he could “bend” the rules to get the reward Balak had offered. Balaam knew that he could not curse Israel if God’s desire was only to bless them. However, Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness – and he needed another plan. The book of Revelation gives us insight into what really was in his heart – “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.” (Revelation 2:14 NKJV) Balaam was outwardly obeying God’s command, but in his heart he was laying plans of greed and deception.
The Lord knows our heart at all times. We are only deceiving ourselves when we pretend to be one thing, and secretly desire or plan to be another. Proverbs warns us – “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is…” What we think will become what we do. What we do will become who we are. What is hidden in our heart is more powerful than what we portray on the outside. This is why Jesus warned the Pharisees – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:25-26 NKJV)
Lord, help me to live a life of consistent obedience – by Your Grace through Your Faith. Forgive me for the times that I have acted one way and secretly desired something that is contrary to Your will. May what I hold in my heart and what I do with my actions be agreeable with Your will. Let my life be consistently yielded to You in both thought, word, and deed. May all that I think, do, and say give glory to Your Name! In Jesus Name!