So, last night at church I was convicted that even though I try to read the Bible, my attitude is bad. I usually read it skeptically and often let myself get upset because God doesn’t act the way I think He should act. But I keep reading it because it’s what I’ve been asked to do, I grumble at God because I’m doing my part and He’s not doing His, and I curmudgeonly carry on.
So it was frustrating today when I read the story of Balaam, and it seemed God was acting dumb. AGAIN! How can I not have a bad attitude when he does stuff like this:
He tells Balaam to go somewhere but along the way an angel appears in his path and now tells him to stop. But only his donkey sees the angel in front of them and veers away. Balaam beats his donkey for stopping. This happens three times and after the last time Donkey turns to him and says, “What the heck are you doing, dude? Don’t you know me well enough to know I don’t usually do this? Can’t you see something must be wrong?”
It doesn’t seem to surprise Balaam that his donkey can suddenly talk and Balaam replies, “You’ve made a fool of me! If I had a sword, I’d kill you right now!”
Then the angel becomes visible to Balaam and he does have a sword and says “I’m ticked, and if it weren’t for your donkey turning away I would have impaled you, buddy.”
So, this makes me, Ross, mad. God told him in the first place to go, then stands in his way because he’s mad that he’s going. Then expects him to understand that He’s mad, even though he’s invisible. What the heck, God!? Are you so fickle? Look, I’m trying to trust you here but you won’t stop doing stuff like this!
But then I feel like God said, “Ross, in your heart, don’t you know me better than this? Would I be so fickle if I didn’t have a reason to do this?”
So I took a deep breath, tried to check my skeptical attitude, and dug a little deeper.
Turns out that the exact reason the angel of God tells Balaam he’s mad is because, “Your path is a reckless one. Now go where you were supposed to go and do only what I tell you.” I guess He saw Balaam was prone to getting mad at things when they didn’t do what Balaam wanted, and this was enough to make God not want him to continue the journey if he didn’t get his attitude in check.
And I, Ross again, thought, “Wow. This is me. I’m doing what God told me to do, reading the Bible consistently, but I do it recklessly. I get mad at God like Balaam got ticked at his donkey, because God doesn’t act like I want him to.”
Nice little sermon, God. You got me again.
Carry on, Ross. You’re doing alright, buddy. But check your attitude and just trust I have your wellbeing in my heart. You can trust me, my son. And trust that when it seems I am doing something out of my character, it is because I’m trying to help you see that I am standing right in front of you and I’m just waiting to give you the eyes to see me.
And don’t worry, I won’t impale you with a sword. Except in a good way with the one that cleaves bone from marrow and trims off the things that keep you from seeing the fullness of my love for you. You will learn to love this sword and what it has the power to do in you.
Yes, Lord. I think I’m seeing that. I’m starting to believe that even though it was set in stone thousands of years ago, You can use it to have a personally unique conversation with me, Ross, to show how you love me today.