Saying What the Lord Says

Sometimes the power of culture feels formidable. A lion at Kruger Park. 


Numbers 24:13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the LORD says, that is what I will say’?


No amount of money from Balak could persuade Balaam to speak words beyond those that had been revealed to him by the LORD. Balak was angry because he had paid Balaam to complete a task and now he was claiming that Balaam was being either immoral or incompetent. This wasn’t the case, because Balaam had to contend with a higher authority. No amount of silver or gold could make him go against the word of the LORD. Even Balaam, whose character comes into question recognizes the authority of God. He is often associated with the old saying, “The Lord can strike a mighty blow with a crooked stick.” 


Saying what the Lord says is not always the “politically correct” thing to do. Followers of Christ in many different cultures may be pressured to conform to society. We go through periods of time where that is easier, and then others, where it is much harder. Today, many Christians around the world are facing persecution for their refusal to submit to the culture, or even their government. Far too often those in power, like Balak, have a hard time understanding why a believer would stand firm in their faith.

The ruler, Balak, thought that his request made perfect sense. The same is true for our secular culture that believes wholeheartedly that their perspective makes sense. However, there is something profound that happens when you come face to face with the reality of God. Even the “crooked stick,” Balaam, was powerless to speak against the word of the LORD. You and I should humble ourselves before the LORD Almighty and realize that we are only beginning to understand the ways of God. We are the ones who need to live in obedience to what the LORD says. It’s through the life of Moses that we begin to see that the closer we are to God, the greater the requirement for obedience. When Moses was on the mountain asking to see the glory of God, he had to hide in the cleft of the rock to be protected. He had become so close to God that even a few meters of disobedience would have resulted in his death. 

This conversation with Balaam is a foreshadowing of what would be required of those who follow Christ. The world may try and pressure us into doing something that is viewed as either “good or bad of my own will” but ultimately we have to stand with Balaam and declare, “what the LORD says, that is what I will say.” 


Lord, please help your children to have the courage to stand and embrace what you have asked us to say. Amen. 


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