Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Out-smarted By A Donkey

Used with permission by Microsoft
So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey and went with the leaders of Moab (Numbers 22:21 NASB).  
Balaam was intent on following his own path.  God often uses the base things of this world to speak to His people.

God had already told Balaam that he should not go to Balak to curse Israel  (Numbers 22: 12).  Balaam responded properly at first. But Balak's messengers persist. The enemy does not always take our first refusal as final.  Balaam continues to ask the Lord if he should go with Balak.  The Lord finally agrees (v.20). Just because God permits us to do something does not mean He sanctions it.  Sometimes God says, "if you want to make a fool of yourself, go ahead."

Balaam was permitted to go but the Lord showed his displeasure by sending an angel to block his way.  Though Balaam could not see the angel, his donkey could.  Ambition and greed always blind us to spiritual realities.  The great seer of God could not see what a donkey could.  The donkey resists going past the sword-wielding angel, which only makes Balaam angry.  Often our hindrances are God's way of protecting us.  Anger because of these difficulties is a sure sign of pride and independence.   How interesting that a man like Balaam who had boasted that he was a man whose eyes had been opened, was spoken to by an animal notorious for its stupidity.  God delights in using the foolish things to confound the wise (I Corinthians 1:27).
What might be the object lesson we can learn from this story?  The Lord can send forth His message through whatever type of messenger He chooses. Arrogance always diminishes our spiritual perception. If God tries to speak to us through someone who may seem ill prepared or uneducated, take note, He may be trying to teach us through an ass.

Image used with permission by Microsoft

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website: https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Work and Rest

Image used with permission by Microsoft
35 And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!” 36 And when the Ark was set down, he would say, “Return, O Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel!”
(Numbers 10: 35-36 NLT)
In this portion of Scripture the Lord set a pattern for us to follow.  A design that allows us to accomplish the things we need to do, but replenishes the strength to continue to achieve those things.  It was a balance between doing and being.
When the Ark of the Lord moved so did the people and God’s enemies were scattered.  Israel saw great victories.  When the Ark came to rest, so did the people.  Moses implored the Lord to come back to the people as he realized the presence of the Lord among them was the source their strength.  The time spent waiting in the Lord’s presence was not wasted time, but necessary for future victories.  The Lord lead his people to have a balance between doing exploits for him and being in his presence.  An imbalance between doing and being is always problematic.  All work and no rest leads to burnout.  Inactivity without passion and vision brings about lethargy and spiritual stagnation.  For some Christians it is easier to move than to remain still.  Without stillness in his presence we will eventually lose the strength to move.  The joy of the Lord is our strength.
Someone once said, “If your output exceeds your input, your upkeep will be your downfall.”  The key to keeping your life in balance is obedience.  Moses had a simple leadership strategy.  When the cloud moved or came to rest so did he.