Balaam. The name may not be familiar, but if I mention the story in the Bible with a talking donkey there’s a chance you might recall him. In short, Balaam is referred to as a prophet of God who speaks freely with the God of Israel, even though he’s not numbered among the Israelites. His story is all about how a neighboring king (Balak), afraid of the approaching Hebrew nation as they mover through the wilderness, desperately tries to get Balaam to pronounce a curse on God’s people as though that might give the king some advantage in battle. However, no matter what the king does, Balaam can only produce blessings for gods people! So you seem to complete the story found early in the book of Numbers, thinking that Balaam ended up pleasing God.
However, just a bit later in Numbers 31:8, you find Balaam listed as someone put to death by the Israelites while they were carrying out God’s instructions to attack the people of nearby Midian. And if you keep reading far enough, at the last book of the Bible you’ll find Balaam mentioned it again this way:
Here’s the point: many people of faith try to live purely on good feeling, intuition, and on their personal ideas about God or the Bible, often made up of just little snippets of reading here and there. Any time we open the Bible to read is better than not reading, but I want to encourage you to KEEP ON READING! Many of the stories in the Bible develop across chapters, and sometimes across whole books. Balaam’s story starts early in the Old Testament and you get the last word on it in the last book of the New Testament! I know it can seem overwhelming, but the point is that we continually keep at our reading of scripture, asking the Holy Spirit to help us understand the full story, get the facts straight, and and comprehend the spirit in which He wants us to live these things out!
Balaam’s story is a warning about the persistence of evil in our life, and the temptation to think the story’s over before we’ve read the ending. In other words: it’s a challenge to stay on your toes!
Keep reading! Keep looking at the truth! Keep living the truth! We tend to have short attention spans, and even shorter memories: God is working in you today – make sure you give Him your full attention! Keep at it!
what is "spark"?
Its a small thing - like the flash on a spark plug that hopefully ignites something bigger to propel you forward.