From: James Flaherty
I’m pretty familiar personally with two experiences described in Numbers 22:
- Like the Moabites as Israel approaches, I’ll see threats from a distance, assume my defeat, and cower. The fact that Balaam can hear from God, from Israel’s God — that’s scintillating evidence of God’s off-the-grid grace for all people, Moab included. But the fact that the Moabites know of Balaam’s access to the Lord and that, of all the things they could possibly do in their time of crisis, they look on with contempt and fear and ask for God’s curse upon Israel so they can win a fight — that’s probably evidence of Moab’s mishandling of the grace they’ve been given.
- And like the soothsayer Balaam, I get nervous when a boss or authority figure isn’t going to like what I have to say. So I don’t exactly tell the truth. Or I tell it incompletely. What God actually tells Balaam (i.e., don’t go with the emissaries, don’t curse Israel, Israel is blessed) is inconvenient for Balak, king of Moab. So Balaam doesn’t share everything with Balak’s emissaries at first; he omits the most inconvenient detail, that Israel is blessed.
Since this post is going up on a Monday, I want to say this: Was the perfect, holy life that Jesus walked on earth in any way convenient, sensible, or forgivably expedient? NO! Let God set your expectations regarding blessing and your blessed present moments. God, reprogram our default craving for mindless self-protection and delusional ease. Balaam reminds me that the Lord’s voice is the only sure shelter, hearing him the only secure life.
I live in Jamaica Plain with Lucia, my wife, and Joan, my daughter.