Journal Entry // April 23, 2022
And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”Numbers 22:29 ESV
Pride is such a deceptive and pervasive part of our hearts that left unchecked it will bring about reckless disobedience to the Word of the Lord and even possible abandonment of the faith. The story of Balaam sounds an awful lot like the story of Jonah. With Balaam there is an overwhelming sense of unchecked pride in his life. Here is a man who has been granted visions from the Lord and is allowed to prophesy in the name of the God. Here is a man that has a ministry and calling from the Lord to share the word of these visions and to be the mouthpiece of God. Yet, Balaam was a man that also struggled with pride even in the midst of the amazing revelations and good works that he was allowed to be part of.
I feel a lot like Balaam. I too had and have this amazing calling and ministry from the Lord. God has and is working his good works through my life and I can see the wonderful riches of his grace and mercy being spread among the people I come into contact with. But there is this nasty, ugly, sinister pride that wells up in me at times. A pride that makes me lose all sense of calling. A pride that threatens to move me off the path of God’s good and perfect love and into the weeds of sin and disobedience.
Balaam answers his donkey’s question about why he has struck the donkey these three times with the simple response that he has been made a fool. He is surrounded by the many princes that were sent from Balak and he is ashamed of the way that his donkey is not obeying him. His pride is so deep and unchecked that it has welled up inside his heart and has moved from shame to vengeance. Balaam was embarrassed and his solution was to murder the object of his wrath. Isn’t this the same as me at times? I may not actually wish I had a sword to murder someone, but I am angry enough at times that I murder them in my heart. Why? Because of my pride and embarrassment and shame of my current situation. I may despise my current circumstances to the degree that I envy others. I envy the position of others and I want to bring them down to my level if God will not raise me up to theirs.
Think about this… Balaam was confessing the state of his heart to a donkey who talked to him. I read this and my first thought is, “You’re talking to a donkey. Isn’t this the most obvious example of God trying to get your attention.” It’s easy to see this in hindsight. It’s easy to see this after I have already passed through the scene in my life. When I am on the other side of this trial, I can readily and simply see the hand of God moving in my life. In the moment… In that very moment I can only see my pride being wounded. I can only see the anger rising up within me. I am so given over to sin at that moment that it is all I can see and think about.
So what’s the cure? It’s simple. It’s always simple with the Lord. The answer is humility. A humble heart that is following Christ. Not a heart that is out ahead of Christ looking back to see if He is still following. Not a heart that even walks side by side with Christ. No, I need to take up my cross daily and follow Christ. I am the sheep following the voice of my Good Shepherd. Humility is the key. I am a humble servant of the Lord. A man that keeps his eyes focused on Christ and let’s the distractions of this world pass him by because he already has all that he needs. My bread is to do the will of God. Just like my Savior taught me.