So, for those who don’t know, I started working with the ninth grade girls in our church’s high school youth group this year and let me tell you, it’s been super awkward, rewarding, and sanctifying all at once! I have so many stories to tell but for now, I’ll stick to something God has really stuck on my heart lately.
Our sermon series this semester is called “When Pigs Fly” and goes over all the crazy, weird, and generally awesome stories in the Bible that might be hard to believe or understand. Recently, we went over the story of Balaam and the talking donkey found in Numbers 22. Please do actually read it because it’s a mind blowing story.
While most people are focused on the TALKING DONKEY (who wouldn’t be, right?), one of the other youth leaders pointed out how unusual Balaam’s response to God is once he finally understands what’s going on. In verse 34, Balaam responds to the angel of the Lord saying,
“I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.”
When you look at other instances in the Bible where people were visited by angels or otherwise encountered the presence of God, their reaction is to fall to their knees, tear their clothing, fall on their face, weep, or express usually very physical outward demonstrations of their remorse over their sin in the face of the Holy God.
But how does Balaam respond?
“Oops, sorry, I screwed up but I didn’t know you were trying to get my attention. I’ll do whatever you want, Bro.”
Or something like that.
Yes, Balaam is a pagan man, a Soothsayer who believed in many gods and not the One True God of Israel. We do need to keep that in mind. But how often as believers do our responses to God resemble Balaam’s?
I’ve been a follower of Jesus since I was 7 years old, basically since I could remember. I can tell you that God has not failed to get my attention when my intentions have been selfish like Balaam’s and I am grateful that He is faithful to intervene when I stray. But how often do I respond to God with excuses instead of genuine remorse? How often is my heart still focused on doing things my way for earthly reward instead of focused on God and His glory?
Too often, I’m sure.
But how awesome is it that we have a God who loves us and forgives us anyways? Who shows unbelievable grace to the undeserving and incredible mercy to the broken?
Our God cares enough to know our hearts and intentions and He cares enough to show us ways in which our hearts still follow our own path instead of His. God cares so much about your heart that He will do whatever it takes to get your attention. Even if that means making a donkey talk.
So does He have it?