Monday, 9 October 2017

Rebuked by an Ass

Scripture: 2 Peter 2 v 15-16:  "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet."

The whole story is recounted in Numbers 22 when Israel was preparing for war against Moab, who were terrified of them and decided to hire a prophet of God to curse them with defeat. Moab hired Balaam the prophet and sent him away on his donkey with instructions to pronounce evil against Israel. 

As Balaam was about to cry prophetically against Israel the donkey suddenly stopped thus causing Balaam to crush his foot against the cliff wall. He beat the ass but it wouldn't budge. It could see what the prophet couldn't see - a big angel with a drawn sword sent to block the mad mission of Balaam.

Then the pass spoke with a man's voice and said to Balaam "Have I ever behaved like this before?" So God opened Balaam's eyes to see the angel who said, "Behold I went out to withstand thee because thy way is perverse before me."  Roughly translated, God sent me to prevent you making an ass of yourself.

Sometimes we behave in ways that are sheer madness and need a reality check before we run into the sword of the Lord. This is when we kindle His anger by the way we treat others; deal corruptly; engage in abominations; are hypocritical in our religious lives.  This happens when we are following our own will, rather than the will of the Lord.

Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees openly for hypocrisy and corruption; He overturned the money lender's (bankers) tables who  traded deceitfully in the front of the Temple. At various times this century He has done that to modern banking and world finance for corruption. They have been forced to clean up their act; become transparent and pay huge fines.

We need to clean up our act in our personal lives; become transparent and open in our dealings with people or we will pay a terrible price for our hypocrisy before God. He changes not. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If something was an abomination in the Old Testament, its still an abomination now. No human law or fleshly sympathy or leniency holds sway with our righteous King.

Jesus came to show us the way to live and walk and have our being. He is the role model we must follow. Not some celeb on crack or sports hero on steroids. Our King is holy, powerful, sinless and faithful. He loves us but has given us the ability to change to be like Him. We must allow Him to have His will in our lives.

Christians are merely passing through this world and are no longer part of it.  We are a new creation that will have an impact on the world.  They will either hate us and reject us, or be intrigued enough to come a little closer and hear the words of our testimony concerning Jesus and His Kingdom.  

They crucified Jesus to stop the gospel from spreading not realising that that was God's plan all along.  Through His death and resurrection every follower of Jesus has His abilities and also the power of the Holy Spirit to reach the lost.

1 Corinthians 2 v 7 - 9: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
 8  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
 9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

So let us not oppose God and His plan which may bring a rebuke from an ass or directly from the Lord, but rather commit to doing our best to allow Jesus to shine through us to conquer the world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we don't need Balaam's ass to rebuke us as we hear the voice of Jesus guiding us. Help us to heed His voice daily and learn what is needful for us to survive in this world to be ready for the wonders of Heaven. In Jesus' name. Amen.