Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:57-80; Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 11:12-13
Isn't Zechariah's song beautiful? Full of praise for the deliverance of God, represented by John's birth, and full of blessing prayed over that son, that he would preach salvation and forgiveness and "the tender mercy of our God" (Lk. 1:78). I have prayed these verses for new moms and babies.
And, as an English major, I can't help but be caught by the image of "a slug melting away as it moves along" (Ps. 58:8). I love the earthy, grounded reality of Scripture. What a strong picture of the psalmist's frustration and desire for justice!
But Balaam's story most compels me this morning. It's high drama, full of divine beings and talking animals, almost like children's fantasy. This narrative made me ask myself several uncomfortably real questions, however.
- What folly am I too blind to see in my life? How am I persisting in my own will, my own way?
- When have I chosen ridiculousness over righteousness?
- Am I attentive to the Lord's efforts to deter me from my errors? Am I missing his work to keep me from sin?
- Balaam knows the Lord (he uses God's personal name [Num. 23:3]), but he either doesn't know God's will (which seems unlikely, because of God's speech to him in 21:12) or doesn't let it guide his life. Do I substitute knowledge of the Lord for obedience, for life with him?
- Where am I trying to get my own way against the express (and expressed) will of my God?
- Where do I want to follow my feelings and wishes against his revealed Word?
Lord, you are a consistent, unchanging God (see 23:19). Teach me what it means to listen for your voice and listen to your voice. Give me joy in obedience. Amen.
- Sarah Marsh
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