Sunday, March 6, 2016

The King with the Plan that Wasn't God's

Today's Chronological Bible reading was about King Balak and Balaam. (Num. 22-24) As I read this morning, I laughed at how silly King Balak was, but he was no more foolish than I have been. 

The children of Israel were on their journey out of Egypt, headed toward the Promised Land. They camped in the plains of Moab. The people of Moab saw the huge crowd of Hebrews, interpreted them as an invading army, and were terrified.

Balak, king of Moab, devised what he thought was a great plan. He would hire Balaam to put a curse on Israel. It's not clear to me why he thought this would be an effective plan, but he did.

At first Balaam refused, but King Balak persisted. Finally, Balaam relented, climbed on his donkey, and headed out to do his cursing best. The angel of the Lord stood in the path, his donkey balked, and Balaam came face to face with a warrior angel of God. After that, Balaam continued on his way, but determined to say only the words God told him to say.

King Balak took him to the appointed place, built an altar, offered a sacrifice, and stood back to hear his enemies cursed. His plan was about to unfold. Or so he thought.

Balaam spoke a blessing instead.

King Balak had paid for a curse. He was furious. "What's up with this? I bought a curse but you gave me a blessing for my enemies instead. Speak the curse I paid for, and do it now!" (Leanna Paraphrase)

I'm not sure why the king of Moab wasn't smarter than this, but he was just like most of us. King Balak wanted what he wanted, so he persisted in the plan he had devised. Even though it had not worked at all the first time round.

Twice more, King Balak hauled Balaam to a place of cursing, built an altar, offered a sacrifice, and waited for the curse he'd bought. Twice more, Balaam offered a blessing for Israel instead.

King Balak's actions seem foolish now, but he was a man with a plan. He followed it all the way to the end, even though it was clear God had not blessed it. God not only wouldn't bless the plan, He would oppose the plan. 

I've had a plan before. Maybe you have, too. I wanted my plan to unfold in a certain way, and I tried over and over again. 

But God had a different plan.

As it turns out, God's plan always trumps mine. 

God's plan is always better. 

It is only when we submit ourselves to the plans and ways of God that we find the greatest blessings. 

 When we follow our own plan, but find it blocked on every side, it's time to reconsider. Maybe what we need to do is not push harder at our plan. Maybe we need to embrace the plan of God for our lives. 

Today, let's take some time to be still and acknowledge that He is God. Seek His plans and His ways, then embrace them with all the fervor we can muster.

He has a plan and it's good. When we follow Him, it might not turn out like we expect, but it's always worth it in the end. (Jer. 29:11)

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts." 
Isaiah 55: 8-9 nasb
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P.S. - The photo is of Jack, the rambling miniature horse, but when he first arrived on the scene, people thought he was a donkey, so I used his picture today.
#Godsplan #Balaam #manwithaplan #lines from Leanna #leannahollis