That I Must Do

I love reading about Balaam and Balak in Numbers 22-24. It’s the story of a king who wants to call a curse down upon the people of Israel through a man who hears from God (Balaam). But Balaam–who promises to speak the words He learns from the Lord–cannot pronounce a curse if God does not say to. Balaam must do only what God says. No amount of money or prizes can tempt Balaam to speak curses over Israel. So Balaam blesses. He cannot curse God’s people.

As Balak becomes increasingly frustrated and wants Balaam to neither curse nor bless Israel, Balaam simply responds, “All that the Lord says, that I must do.” 

As the story becomes more and more ridiculous in Balak’s attempts to gain the blessing of God for his people and not the Israelites, Balak wants to persuade Balaam one more time with the promise of honor if he will just curse the people of Israel. I love Balaam’s response: “If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord. . . ” 

I suppose I love the picture of obedience here and how prestige, riches, or some kind of other prize couldn’t persuade Balaam to do or say what God had not said. I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t falter in my own obedience. I want to say, “All that the Lord says, that I must do.”


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