Tuesday’s Torch 552
September 10, 2019
Hey! I’m back with another Tuesday’s Torch. Due to the hurricane last week there was a slight interruption but we are back up and running so to speak. Tonight I’m gonna share a message from the Old Testament, one of my favorites because almost nobody even realizes it is there, but it teaches a good lesson and to be perfectly honest, it’s impossible to read without smiling and almost breaking into laughter.
Ok, the scene: Balak is afraid of the Israelites and so he asks Balaam to go and curse them so that they won’t cause problems for him. God tells Balaam not to do it, because they are blessed. So he refuses to go along with the unrighteous plan. Balak then sends even more respected princes to meet with Balaam and they offer him riches and honor and all sorts of things if he will go with them and do what they want instead of keeping the commandments of God. So let’s join the story, we will start in Numbers 22 verse 22 onwards:
21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
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.
23 And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
24 But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.
25 And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again.
26 And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
27 And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?
29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.
30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
32 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.”
After this he actually went on to go against Balak and do what God told him to do, which was to bless the Israelites rather than curse them.
Some things stand out. Balaam was willing to say no when the first request was made, because he knew it was contrary to the commandment of God. Yet as the perceived reward of riches and honor were increased, suddenly he started being a little more willing to follow an unrighteous path.
I know I’ve followed some really stupid paths in my life in search of rewards that at the time seemed to be desirable but looking back were just temptations that led me farther away from God and farther from where I should have gone. But the blessing of the Gospel provides us a way to correct our mistakes and change our course when we go down a wrong path.
And now the part of the story I’m looking at is that, umm, the ass was the voice of reason. And since donkeys don’t have the reputation of being wise animals, it’s not a stretch to say that the dumb ass was the voice of reason. And if that dumb ass could be the one to see the angel of the Lord, and see that the path they were following was not the right one; and if that dumb ass could turn from the unrighteous path, then we all have hope. And for that I am so personally grateful.
Now brothers and sisters, I hope you enjoyed this torch. I hope you got something from it. And one other thing from this story that I find so crazy. This dude was so determined to follow the wrong path when his ass began talking that he actually argued with it! Didn’t freak out and go running away or falling down in shock, he didn’t fall down until he saw the angel. He just got mad and started arguing with a talking donkey! Really? Look. If God sends you a voice of warning that comes in the form of a talking, dumb ass, pay attention and listen, don’t argue. Like for example, the torches that I’ve written since I took over for Tim. Same type of thing basically. Alright. Y’all have a blessed week and always make sure you’re staying on a righteous path. Righteous paths are the ones that don’t require going against the commandments of God. Trust me on that. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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