Numbers 22:21-23:30, Luke 1:57-80, Psalms 58:1-11, Proverbs 11:12-13
Today is the 15th day of March. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It is a pleasure to be here with you today. I trust that it is well with your soul and I’m excited that we can take this next step forward. That’s how this all works…that’s how the Daily Audio Bible works, but that’s how life works, one step forward every day and we’re choosing wisely to center ourselves again in God’s word as we move forward in life and in the Scriptures. So, of course, we’ll pick up where we left off yesterday, this story that’s brewing between Balak and Balaam and a proposed curse on the children of Israel who are freaking out everyone who is around them. We’re reading from the Christian Standard Bible this week. Numbers chapter 22 verse 21 through 23 verse 30.
Okay. So, Balaam had a conversation with a donkey in today’s reading and that’s not something you can say every day. And the whole story is kind of confusing because on the surface Balaam was simply doing what God told him to do. At first God told him, no, you can’t go with these people. But then when Balak sends this larger entourage with these promises of riches and gifts, God tells him that he can go and that he should go, but he can only say what God tells them to say. So that’s what Balaam does. He gets up and he leaves with these guys. And then an angel is sent to oppose him with a sword in his hand that the donkey can see but that Balaam can’t. So, it’s confusing, like Balaam is just obeying God. So, why is there an angel to oppose Balaam? But as it turns out, the angel it actually ends up drawing out what’s really going on in Balaam’s heart. I mean, the first time God told him he couldn’t go and he didn’t. And the second time God did tell him he could go and there’s this promise of all of this bounty of gifts and blessing out in front of him. So, he’s thinking maybe this is going to be lucrative. And King Balak has sent very, very high level representatives. So, Balaam is in the company of very prestigious people. In this moment Balaam’s a big shot. There’s some pride going on here. And pride has a way of distorting just about everything. And how do we know this? We see it in the story. The donkey sees the angel and then veers off the path. So, Balaam beats the donkey back onto the path. The angel stands in a gateway in the vineyards and Balaam’s foot gets crushed. And, so, he beats the donkey. And then the angel stands in a place and there’s nowhere else to go. And, so, the donkey just sits down. And Balaam is enraged, he’s just losing it on the donkey. He’s beating the donkey until the donkey speaks. What have I done that you’ve beaten me these three times. And Balaam appears to be so enraged that he doesn’t realize he’s having a conversation with his donkey. But sometimes, in those moments, we spout out from our hearts what’s really going on before we can stop or govern or curate what we’re going to say. And, so, Balaam speaks, you made me look like a fool. If I had a sword in my hand I’d kill you now. There it is. Balaam’s being a big shot and it was clouding his mission. Of course, when Balaam’s eyes were open and he could see the angel, that set things right and snapped him to his senses, as angelic visitations are prone to do. And Balaam was again reminded of what he was going to do. He was going to speak on behalf of the Lord. Nothing else. He’s not a big shot. And the lure of all this reward money is not the point. And Balaam got that loud and clear. He finally got to Balak. Of course, Balak’s like, what took you so long and all this stuff. And they go and they look at the children of Israel, sacrifice to God, God speaks and he won’t speak cursing over the children of Jacob, the children of Israel. So, now Balak’s mad and he’s like, well, let’s go. Let’s go over here looking at this from another angle and see of God will curse them from this other angle. And, so, they build altars and sacrifice again and God won’t do it. God will not speak or pronounce a curse on His own people. And, so, Balak’s like, well, let’s go over here, let’s do this from another angle. And they try again and God won’t curse His people. There is so much here for us in our own lives, found in this story. This becomes a mirror as the Bible does so often. On the one hand, we hear God’s direction. We obey. We don’t go when he says, don’t go. And then when he says do go we start to go but we have some preconceived notions about what that’s going to look like because maybe we’ve been praying for God to give us permission to go in a certain direction because we think that’s going to be lucrative in some sort of way. And, so, we start off down the path in the direction that we actually wanted to go because of the thing that is out there, the promise that’s out there when God give us permission for totally different reasons. He’s sending us on a mission for totally different reasons. All the sudden our pride starts to well up and we start thinking of how we’re going to use all that resource. And we get lost to the mission, to the purpose that God is sending us somewhere. And then we feel all kinds of opposition and we’re praying against the enemy who is thwarting our path because we’re walking the path to God told us to walk when, actually, it could be God standing in the way, forcing us to acknowledge this wasn’t a collaboration or a mission from God. This was about something we really wanted and we’ve gotten lost. We’ve lost the plot. And, so, God is standing in the way so that we don’t go and do incredible damage and destroy ourselves in the process so that were very, very clear on what’s actually happening. And, so, we can see ourselves in this story. We can also see ourselves in Balak sent for Balaam for one reason. He was known to be a man of God, and he had apparently been successful in blessing and cursing otherwise he wouldn’t of been sent for in the first place. And what Balak wants is a curse upon these people who are right around him and have had success in defeating people, neighboring people of his. So, he’s afraid of the children of Israel and he wants a curse put on them. Well, once Balaam’s got it straight about what he’s going to do and what his purpose in being given permission to go on this journey is all about, he’s not going to say anything that God doesn’t say. And God is not going to curse His people. So, Balak’s aggravated by that. And does what does he do? Well let’s go over here and look at this from another angle and see if we can get a yes from the Lord. And when that doesn’t work? Okay, let’s go over here. Let’s try again. Let’s go over here from a different angle and see if God will curse them from this angle. We can find ourselves in this so clearly. We’re not getting what we want and so we try to reframe it. We try to do it from a different angle. How about like this? And then we’re not getting what we want. So, how about like this? And then we’ll just keep doing it until we feel like we can do whatever we want, which would simply reveal that it’s not really God’s blessing or direction that we’re looking for. It’s permission to do whatever we want and we’re going to find a way to do that no matter what. And it’s sinister because then we do that and it doesn’t work out we like to blame God for it. And it has to be exasperating for the Father because He must throw His hands in the air and say, what exactly did I do here? I gave you a mission and you made it about something else. You wanted to do something that I didn’t give you permission for and so you kept finding angles until you could get the yes that you were looking for even though I never gave it to you. And now you want to blame me? And the sad thing is that we do this a lot more than we may even realize or acknowledge. And, so, from our reading today we have some things to think about. Have we asked God for permission to do things? And as we’re talking to the Lord telling him all of the reasons why this would be good for his kingdom, why this would be an good work, when under the surface of it all is how this will be good for us. And our pride just begins to bubble up. Or have we gotten a no and then we just start spinning it, we just start the negotiation. We look at it from another angle, and then we look at it from another angle, and then we look at it from another angle, until we can feel like were justified in doing what we want to do anyway. Obviously, when we read this in the Bible, when we read this story of Balaam, we can see all of this out. We can see it clearly in the story but can we see it clearly in our lives? May we open ourselves to this today and invite the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to us the ways we’ve gone our own way and then blamed God for it. Or the ways that we’ve allowed pride or promise to cloud and distort what we’re actually doing, the mission that we’re actually on.
Holy Spirit, we invite you into that. That touches a lot of places in our lives, And as we sit with this and invite You to come and begin to reveal these things to us, we see patterns and we see ways in which this goes back into our history and it’s humbling. We first we first respond with repentance. We ask Your forgiveness for the things we’ve blamed You for that You haven’t done. And we invite Your Holy Spirit to show us the narrow path that leads to life and how it is that we continue to walk that instead of trying to find every angle conceivable to get off of it so that we can have something that we want that will perhaps destroy us. This reveals just how much we do not trust in You, how self-centered and stiff necked we also can be. Forgive us Lord. We want to walk in Your ways. We want to live in Your light. We want to speak the truth and live in the truth. So come Holy Spirit and lead us into all truth as You’ve promised to do. Our part in this is that we listen and obey. Come, Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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The 25th of March I will be speaking in Louisville Kentucky at New Song Christian Fellowship Louisville. And, so, if you are in the area, love to see you, come say hello. You can get the details at dailyaudiobible.com in the Events section. And, so, we’ll look forward to that.
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Good morning this is Princess Sarah in Tulsa. I wanted to say hello to all of the other children of the King. Aaron is in the hospital and I just want to say I’ve been praying for you on behalf of your family that is across the pond and also for the young woman who converted from Islam. That’s super exciting and we are welcome you to the kingdom of Jesus. And I wanted to say also, I appreciated a word from Candace this past week who is a fellow widow. I have just been really feeling a lot of responsibility trying to be mom and dad. I’m feeling really alone in decision-making and that’s really a heavy weight to carry. And, so, I just appreciate your words Candace and I am trying to do day by day, moment by moment hand everything over to the Lord and know that He is my children’s Father and He is my husband as I need help. Also, I just wanted to say that it’s really cool that God works retroactively because I’m praying for somebody’s job interview right now today who had a job interview, like four days ago and recorded his message. So, I just thank the Lord that you did a great job and that He is leading the company to hire you if this is God’s perfect will. And meanwhile, I have a test today in physical science, which is just a fancy word for math, which I’m not so good at. So I’m just going to say, would you all pray for my test in math that’s happening in hour. And I thank you for that retroactive help. And I just pray you’re all blessed. Have a great day. Bye.
Hello Daily Audio Bible family it’s Olympia in Jubilant Perseverance in Indonesia. I am calling for a little update and a specific prayer request. So, I’m still job hunting and I’m still working at the school in Indonesia that directly stated, suggested that I not sign to renew my contract there. So, it’s continuing to be a daily challenge and a daily reminder for prayer to face out to God and to make the most of the time that I have in the community. It’s a very heartbreaking place to work because it’s supposed to be a Christian school but there’s so much ignorance and hate and a spirit of rejection that’s just so palatable and constant that you have to block that it breaks my heart for the students there. And I’ve watched a lot of teachers of color leave and there’s a bitterness and tension among some staff there across cultures. And it’s so ironic because intercultural is in the name and it’s really a challenge to keep my spirit focused and driven and guarded from that spirit of rejection. So please join me in praying for that. And also, in this week, we do a weeklong service earning project, where we serve people in the community. I’m leading a group that’s going to serve kids in the city and I just ask that you pray with me for peace to cover us and wisdom to go before us.
Every time I think I’ve got God all figured out He lets me know that His ways are not my ways and that His ways are higher above my ways than the heavens are above the earth. So, I’m going to rejoice even in the bad times and to celebrate in the resulting brokenness for God is truly a strong deliverer and the only high tower in the time of trouble. Sela. He uproots those who, in the wisdom of their own eyes, have sought their own counsel and have come to the conclusion that their stance was quite secure. And in many ways it is. But the rocks can be quite slippery and God let’s you know to be aware when you think you’re standing lest you fall. But God humbles the proud. But know he this, in due time he will exalt those who were beat down. So, continue to do what’s right and know eventually in God’s time you will be exalted and receive a treasure that is priceless beyond measure. For you are and always will be esteemed of great worth by my Lord. Sela. firstname.lastname@example.org I’d like to give a shout out for Byron from Florida. Hang in there brother. Tracy B. and Edward L. I hope you’re all doing well. Know you’re in my prayers all the time, every day. And Delta Alpha Fox Trot, you still out there? Let us know was happening on the Western front. And Brian once again thank you for this wonderful podcast for God’s Holy Spirit to flow throughout the earth. And it is flown’. Keep it flowin’ y’all.
Hi DABbers. This is Linda in New Hampshire. I’m calling for an urgent prayer request for my grandson. His name is Dylan. He is truly the love of my life, aside from God of course and Jesus. But he’s something really really special, he’s very smart. He’s amazing. And were having some real difficulties with him in school. I know where it stems from, my son. Because his dad was really mistreated by his father, my ex-husband. And it’s just…there’s a lot there…it grieves me beyond words…like…trying not to cry on everybody here. But if you could please, please, pray for Dylan that he would have self-esteem and feel confident and not feel like he’s not walking on egg shells in his own home. And please, please, pray for my son to that he would have healing because he definitely has addictive personality disorder…I don’t know what you would call it. But it’s really frightening, you know, what’s happening with my grandson at school. I guess he was on his desk today saying that he wanted to die. He took his sweater and tied it around his neck. And I mean it’s just it’s breaking my heart to hear that he’s suffering so badly internally. He feels very very safe with his mom and with me but please pray. I love you all. I pray for everybody. I pray for everything that I hear. And I listen to this twice a day. Thank you for everyone for praying.
Hey everybody. Hey. This is Annette from Oklahoma City. I’m praying tonight for all of those of us who have loved ones in prison. Dear Lord, reach out to our family and our loved ones and our friends who might be incarcerated around this world. You know how lonely they are. We know that being in a jail cell all by ourselves and with others that we don’t know and may be even afraid of could probably be the toughest thing we ever face in our lives. Dear Lord, I would love for You to wrap your arms around them and let them know that You are there and that You love them and that no matter what we do, you know, every one of us is just one step is away from being in that place. And dear Lord reach into them, let them know that You forgive them and You love them and may they turn to You in these times and just be with them all. I love You. I love you guys. I’m praying still for my brother Charlie. It looks like he’s hit the four year mark. He’s got four more years to go. I’m very thankful that he so close to my dad was only like three hours away and gets to visit him at least a couple times a month and that’s good for both of them. I love you guys. Be good to those. And like the Lord says, remember those in prison. Love you all. Bye-bye.