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The cost of obedience to God

Numbers  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:14
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Introduction

How do your respond when someone is rewarded and you are not?
What do you think when someone is blessed?
I think of Esau and his angry response when he found out that Jacob had stolen his blessing.
Or even the brothers of Joseph as they realized that Jacob favored him over any of them.
That kind of reaction occurs over and over again in our society too. Someone gets promoted in the job you wanted; someone is recognized for something you did.
I was a young lance corporal in the Marines, stationed on Okinawa when we were given a task in a combat training exercise. Our platoon commander a young second Lt. and our platoon leaders were trying to come up with a plan on how to do something. I came up with an idea and the platoon went with it. When the company commander was passing out accolades for how we did our Lt. took all the credit when everyone in the platoon knew the credit should have been passed to me. I remember being angry about that and losing all respect for that Lt.
Well here we have the third time Balaam has repeated a blessing from God on Israel rather than a curse. Balak's response speaks volumes of what is going on his heart. But God is up to something and it is something good.

I. When anger gets the upper hand, v.10

And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.

Balak became exceedingly angry. ויחר־ַַַַאּּפ he became angry angry.
Same phrase used of Balaam's rage against his Ass in 22:27 and for God's anger towards Balaam for going to Balak, 22:22.
The only one whose anger was righteous was God's toward Balaam. Balaam's rage was based on lack of information and self centered as was Balak's toward Balaam. Although, Balaam had informed Balak he could not curse Israel. Balaam' rage led him to strike his Ass in a feeble attempt to kill her. Balak's rage led him to strike his hands together in anger, and decry Balaam's actions.
The Bible says that For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God
Balak's anger gets the best of him so that he, like the rest of us is unable to see what God is doing. He is blinded by his anger at Balaam that he is not. He does not hear what Balaam has said to him. If he would simply choose to bless Israel he would be blessed.
Sinful anger simply digs one a deeper hole from which to get out of.
His anger leads him to miss the blessing.
He said I called you to curse my enemies and behold you have blessed them, these three times. And Now you better flee to your place. I said I would honor you. And behold, YHWH has held you back from honor.
In other words, Balaam is not going to get paid. In fact, his reputation as a professional curser is tanked. Word will get out that his practice is shoddy to anyone who would seek out his professional opinion. I think if Balak thought he could have killed Balaam he would have.
Balak said, the Lord has withheld your honor.
Balak is a little deceived in thinking that he could honor Balaam. As has already been quoted, "he will bless the one who blesses and he will curse the one cursing."
What does it take to glean honor from the Lord. The word "honor" is כבד which lit. means heavy or weighty. So if someone is heavy or weighty in society we are not talking about their BMI but their place in society, are they worthy of respect. Balak placed a value on cursing Israel and was willing to pay Balaam to do it. It show you what kind of 'weight' Balaam originally had with Balak. We might say someone is 'throwing their weight around' to refer to someone who has a level of importance to get something done.
So when Balak said 'YHWH withheld his honor' from Balaam he meant there was no pay, but that also his 'weight' with him was gone. So again what does it take to get God to give someone 'weight' with Him?
First of all the only one who truly has weight with Him Jesus. And in short, the only ones who will have 'weight' with God apart from Jesus are those who put their faith in Jesus. He will answer their prayers for forgivness, He will answer their prayers for power and for understanding of His word; for strength to live life to His glory. Those who honor God by their lives God will honor. Romans 9:23,24
Romans 9:23 AV
And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Romans 9:24 AV
Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

II. Honor God with your words

Balaam's response to Balak's rage is the same as he told him all along, v.12,13
In fact, his reply is almost verbatim what he had said in Num. 22:18 . The main difference in the two statements is that in the former he said he could say nothing either "less or more" than what the Lord said.
Here he said, He could do neither "good or evil". Here he speaks of a moral nature to his reply. to Balak's charge that he was unethical in his practice.
Balaam claimed to say only what the Lord told him to say. He could not bend God to his own will.
Here again it shows that God turns what someone intends for evil into good for His people.
He states that he is going to his people, but before he goes he will advice/counsel you what this people (Israel) will do to your people in the latter days.
It seems to me that Balaam doesn't get angry with Balak. Nor does he respond in kind regarding the attack on his character. He merely stuck with his commitment to say only what God wanted him to say. He was not free to go outside the boundary of God's will as He revealed it.
The same has got to be true with us too. We belong to Him. WE are bought with a price and therefore we are only free to do and say as God wants us to. That is where we often go wrong, at least, that is where I go wrong.
Balaam, though motivated by money to come and curse Israel, refuses to do so even though it costs him, not only money, but reputation as well .
Balak, on the other hand, is giving up the opportunity for blessing by his desire to curse Israel.
The question is, "are you willing to do what is right before God even thought it might cost you? "
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