(From the book, Guided by the Spirit by Pastor Bankie)
Balaam is an interesting story and he illustrates well why hearing the voice or the spirit of God is not as important as having the wisdom of God and the right spirit.
Balaam’s story was confusing to me for a long time. One, Balak’s people come with their proposal for him to come curse the people of God for a good fee. Balaam reacted in what I considered a perfect way—he insisted on asking the Lord whether He would approve or not. And the Lord answered him promptly in the negative. Furthermore, Balaam was dutiful in reporting the decision of the Lord to the visitors. These all seemed good to me, and it should to any Christian.
Next, Balak’s emissaries came back, and this time they promised Balaam more money than before. Again he did what I used to think was good—he went to inquire of the Lord about whether he should go or not. This time the Lord told him to go. In fact, the Lord even told him how to behave when he would have reached the place. I would think the ‘prophet’ heard God clearly and so had discovered the will of God. But now the story gets really crazy. The man set on his way according to the word of God and yet trouble met him on the way. A modern Christian would have said it was the devil blocking his way. But it wasn’t.
But God was angry that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way… Balaam's donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. Num 22:22-23 NLT
Lord please wait, please wait! What is going on here? First, You tell him to go, then You are angry he is going. Am I missing something? Was someone impersonating You? (some Christians would say it was the devil pretending to be You). Is it a bad translation of the Holy Bible? If this doesn’t confuse someone, I wonder what else would. But I thank God because we know that He always does what is right and there is no wickedness or confusion in Him. We just need to learn.
Before I go on to explain, let me summarize what we can learn from this encounter here: The fact that you heard the voice of God clearly does not mean you have discovered the will of God. It is obvious here that Balaam heard His voice but missed His will. Many Christians have ‘heard’ God and yet they missed His will. Anytime you hear the voice of God, if indeed you are sure you did, what you have discovered is the judgement of God, not necessarily His will.
The will vs the judgement
The judgment of God can also be expressed as His decision or decree. It is what He expresses when all things have been put together. As an example, He decreed that a lying spirit should go and provoke lies in the mouths of Ahab’s prophets so that Ahab might go to Ramoth-gilead and perish there (1 Kg 22:22), when in actual fact His will is that no one should perish but that all may come to repentance. God’s will is the thing that He actually desires, but this will only happen only when all things are conformed to Him. The will of God happens when men walking with Him are acceptable to Him in their thoughts and actions. His judgement however is affected by many things, His will being only one of the things.
Apart from God’s will, other things that affect His judgment include the character of the person praying, what the person is asking about, what time or season it is, etc. These things affect the decree of God. The fact that God told Balaam to do something does not mean that was what He actually wanted. The will of God was that Balaam would not go, but the judgment of God was that He should go.
Why did God say that?
Remember that I mentioned that God’s will is only done when those relating with Him are perfectly aligned in their hearts to it, and when they pray correctly. Balaam’s will was not subject to the will of God. It might appear so because he said he could only go where God said to go, but he only said this because he understood there was no other way to succeed in this business. He was a diviner who understood how spiritual tings worked, and that was how he got his reputation. But when it came to his spirit, Balaam had a covetous spirit and was not subject to God in his heart; he loved the money that was being offered.
…forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. 2 Peter 2:15
The thing the man loved coloured his prayers before God and that was why God judged and decreed that he should go. The truth is that the man wanted to go and God was only a stumbling block to what he actually wanted to do. See, when we are stubborn, God will sometimes give a decree that is not in accordance with His true will. Balaam may have known how to hear God’s voice, but he was not subject to the will of God. Child of God, knowing how to hear the voice of God is not at all half as important as being subject to His will, laying down your life and saying ‘I will only want what He wants,’ not using Him to get what you want. Until you get to that point, hearing God is nothing. Balaam heard God but missed God’s will. He took action based upon what he heard but he almost died for it. God spoke to me to do it does not mean you will prosper in doing it. God was not pleased with him. He had a wrong spirit.
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