“That night God came to Balaam and asked him, ’Who are these men visiting you?’” (Numbers 22:9).
This chapter of the Bible is fascinating. We encounter a prophet of God who had apostatized but still believed in God’s power. He believed God led the children of Israel, a people who were approaching neighboring nations at an ever faster and more victorious pace. As could be expected, those nations wanted to take action in the matter and sent Balaam, known for his supernatural powers, to curse the children of Israel.
Balaam knew he wasn’t supposed to do that, but he was seduced by the promise of gifts and fame, and invited his visitors to spend the night at his house.
God, who knew and knows all things as always, asked him what those men were doing at his house. Balaam pretended to ask God how to proceed, even though he already knew the answer and was aware that his actions were displeasing in His eyes. He knew he wasn’t supposed to go with them to curse a people God had already blessed.
The following day, he told the men what God had said and bid them farewell. But more messengers came with promises of greater honor, and again Balaam lodged them and offered to consult God.
This time God gave him permission to go with them, provided he would do everything God told him to. On that journey, the story of the donkey that talked, was unjustly beaten and revealed the angel of God’s presence to Balaam, took place. Balaam had a conversation with what he understood to be an animal! How far into madness can blind anger and a life away from God lead us!
Perhaps we’ve heard this story so many times that we even think it’s common, but what happened was really extraordinary and it should serve as a lesson for us to remember that God is the One who should lead our lives.
Sometimes we recklessly hang around with friends we know are not pleasing to Him. It may be because we want to be liked, fit in, obtain a benefit, or avoid loneliness…
Whatever it is, God is also asking us today who we’re surrounded by and what our true motivations are.
May we be able to influence, more than we’re influenced, and if we’re being influenced, may we be wise and cautious enough to step away from dangerous ground.