Showing posts with label Balaam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Balaam. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The View from the Ground

The story of Balaam is remarkable on several levels. Its lessons are important enough for the writer of Numbers to devote three full chapters to them. Moses would later cite God’s reversal of Balaam’s failed attempt to curse his people as evidence of his love for them. Joshua would cite it as evidence of God’s ability to deliver them. The prophet Micah would say it is evidence of God’s righteousness. In Nehemiah, the story of Balaam and its consequences would inspire the returned exiles to separation and holiness. In the New Testament, Peter, Jude and John would make reference to the way of Balaam, the error of Balaam, and the teaching of Balaam.

The story of Balaam matters for multiple reasons, and the talking donkey is actually the least of them.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Better Idea

In theory, all genuine believers agree God knows best. How could he not? He made man from the dust of the earth. He knows us inside and out. Everything we encounter in life is the direct product of interaction with a system God created and which he actively maintains. The New Testament even tells us that we have a sympathetic advocate in the Lord Jesus, one who understands what it feels like to encounter temptation. Right and wrong are not mere abstractions to him; he knows the practical and emotional cost of choosing the good, every single time.

Of course he knows best. Who could possibly argue?

And yet, when the will of God is revealed to us, almost everyone at one time or another has a ‘better’ suggestion to offer. Our bright ideas do not all spring from exactly the same motives, but they are inferior all the same, sometimes appallingly so.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

When God Says Things He Doesn’t Mean

Forget pancakes. Here’s a stack of problem verses to chew on instead:

“Take your … only son Isaac, and offer him … as a burnt offering.”

“ ‘Rise, go with them’ … But God’s anger was kindled because he went.”

Let me alone, that I may destroy them and … I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.”

Sometimes God says things he doesn’t really mean. Think about that a bit.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Visions of Their Own Minds

Saturday’s post ended with my contention that while teachers need to study scripture to be accurate, a prophet doesn’t (or rather, real, biblical prophets didn’t). A true prophet — good or bad, wise or foolish, ignorant or prudent — simply repeated what God had told him.

Interestingly, the commentary I’m reading on Daniel this morning addresses this very issue:

“We read of [Daniel] how each vision was connected with the deepest soul exercise, with fasting and prayer as well as the reading of those portions of the Word of God he possessed.”
— Arno C. Gaebelein

Now, Gaebelein’s not wrong about Daniel’s study habits.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Don’t Check Your Privilege

A whole lot smarter than you think ...
Everywhere I look these days it seems somebody wants to tell somebody else why their opinion doesn’t count.

Not a parent? You should have nothing to say about child rearing. Not a veteran? Your opinion about war is uninformed by experience. Lack a uterus? You can’t possibly have a valid take on abortion.

Tal Fortgang wrote a piece about privilege that ran on TIME’s website back in May of this year in which he declined to defer to those who claim the high ground (we can’t really call it the ‘moral high ground’, can we?) on various social issues. He has encountered a steady stream of abuse for his temerity. His detractors, if I have this correct, consider him too privileged to hold a legitimate opinion on the subject of privilege.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Don’t Check Your Privilege

A more current version of this post is available here.