Numbers 22:8 And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.12 And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.
These two verses are taken out of the chapter of Balaam's life, when he was bribed by the king of Moab to put a curse on the children of Israel. At the outset we see that the prophet was being driven by principles that are foreign to the kingdom of God, in that the very notion of being paid to curse someone should have been repulsive at the very least, but to presume to ask God whether or not to curse His own people gives us cause for alarm. When we know for certain that a particular request is not God's will, we should never try to force His hand by continually asking what His will is, for by doing so we become predisposed to disobedience, to the ruin of our own souls.
In the passage, we see that God condescended to make His will perfectly clear, yet the record shows that Balaam came back soon after with the very same question. In such circumstances, where Christians insist on praying for their own will to be done, the Lord often grants us leave to do so, for we are free moral agents, and He respects the freedom of choice He has given us. Let's read:
Numbers 22:15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. 18 And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more. 20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.
This attitude of Balaam is often repeated in the lives of believers, for many of us have not learned the valuable lesson of surrendering our will and our preconceived ideas to God. A Christian woman comes across a knight in shining armor, someone who claims to love her, yet the individual is not a believer, and so the Christian takes the matter to the Lord in prayer to find out God's will. The Lord then makes His will in such matters known, by pointing the believer to the scriptures, which teache us not to unite ourselves with those who have not given their lives to Christ. Let's read:
2nd Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
After reading this plain instruction, the Christian goes back to God in prayer to ask Him what is His will, and so the Lord grants them leave to get married, yet they like Balaam will incur the displeasure of God, because the Christian who has covenanted to serve the Lord, has deliberately chosen to go contrary to His will. Let's read:
Numbers 22:22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
Presumptuous prayers are all too common in our day, and the lessons to be learned from Balaam's experience do not always resonate with us as they should. God has no problem with us having preferences or desires, but what He is concerned about is when we try to force our own way in opposition to what he has clearly stated in His word. As Christians we should be willing to have our requests confirmed by God, or humble enough to surrender them if they are not in harmony with His will.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture that teaches us the valuable lesson of submission to God, and if we cultivate this attitude, then the Lord will see us through the many snares and temptations that are set for the feet of the unwary. Let's read:
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
May we live as Christ lived, by being willing to be led by God in all things, for this is what Christ meant when he said follow me. "Good night" and God bless!