I Didn't Realize

I Didn't Realize

27 February 2019

I Didn’t Realize
Jim Stephens

Reading: Numbers 21-23; Mark 6

Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.” (Numbers 22:34 NLT)

Two things stood out to me as I read these chapters in Numbers. First, God spoke clearly to a prophet from the region of the Euphrates River. This was the pagan culture Abraham had left many years before. Even with a covenant between himself and the descendants of Abraham, even with Moses the extraordinary prophet on the scene, God carried on a dialog with Balaam. You know, it’s kind of an “occupational hazard” for people like us who believe we are “God’s Most Special People” to think that God can’t or won’t speak to or through anyone who isn’t part of our group!

Second, it is important that even the most gifted “prophet” recognize his limitations.
Balaam was carrying on a dialog with God and receiving specific instructions from God, but wasn’t able to see God’s angel blocking his way. His donkey saw what the prophet couldn’t see.

When I find myself discounting the possibility that God could be communicating to and through someone else, it’s often because:
• There’s something about them I don’t like.
• They aren’t identified with “my group.”
• I’ve forgotten the little I do know about how good and loving and great God is!

Lessons for me:

• I must not assume that I totally know, and fully understand, what God will, and will not, do.
• I must not presume to know whom God will, or will not, communicate with.
• I must not decide in advance whom God may, or may not, use to speak to me or others.
• I must realize that even on my best, clearest day, I don’t see the whole picture, and I need to be open to learn from others.


Father, I want to grow in my ability to be open to receive and learn from others. I would like to have more of your willingness to love and include those who aren’t “of us.” Thank you for the reminder to stay humble, open, and willing to listen for your voice in the most unexpected places, from the most unexpected sources! Amen.

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