Speaking, Out of Your Ass
I’m normally somewhat of a political junkie. I am not claiming to know all the ins and outs, but I generally have a good pulse on what’s going on in the nation’s capital. Until now. Though moving and preparing for another baby has something to do with it, I’m honestly just over all the flapping gums. Doesn’t matter if it is the left or right, these people pretty much all say one thing and do something else. Politicians are a special breed. Or so we’d all like to think.
Some of us don’t always say the politically correct thing, especially if you’re a Marine, but generally speaking we all try to say what we think others want to hear. Christians really aren’t any different – “I’ll pray for you,” “Praise God,” and “I need to get into the Word” are some of our best catch phrases. There’s nothing wrong with any of these and in fact we should be saying and doing them all. But, I know I don’t always pray for that someone, or actually praise God. Sometimes I look to the world, not God, for answers. Even if we are successful at fooling others, there’s always that pesky Jesus fellow who knows what is really in our hearts. It’s times like these when I feel like it’s my ass talking, not me.
No, the church blogger didn’t just swear (…is ass really a swear word?). I’m referring to Numbers 22. If you’re not familiar, I will paraphrase.
While the Hebrews and Charlton Heston were mozy-ing about in the desert, King Balak of Moab saw the Hebrew mob coming his way. Fearing the crowd (2 million strong) was a threat, he decided he wanted to battle Israel, but first, he wanted a warm and fuzzy that he would win. So, he sent servants to Balaam, a man known for having God’s ear, and asked him to curse the Hebrews. Balaam and God had a fire-side chat and the Lord told Balaam Israel was blessed and to leave them alone. Balaam sent word to Balak that it was a no-go, but Balak just sent a more prestigious envoy, which tried to bribe Balaam. Balaam asked God again and this time God said to go with the servants but to do only as He commands.
The next day, Balaam gets up, hops on his noble steed (a donkey) and heads out. Along the way, the donkey sees an angel and freaks out. Balaam, not seeing the angel, gives a few sidekicks to his sidekick who turns to Balam and asks (out loud) why he is beating her, like donkeys do. Eventually, the angel makes itself known to Balaam who admits he has sinned. The angel lets Balaam continue on, but reminds him to do only as God commands.
So, what gives? After all, God told Balaam to go with Balak’s servants. Balaam said all the right things too – he told Balak’s men that he couldn’t go against God, so why all the anger? Because God doesn’t just listen to our words, He knows what’s in our hearts.
“A man looks at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). Though the servants and even Balak may have been fooled, God wasn’t. God had already told Balaam the Hebrews were not to be harmed, but when the second more prestigious envoy showed up offering Balaam a reward, he decided he’d give it another shot. Balaam wasn’t obeying God, he was testing God to see if He really meant “no.” So, in a pretty comical way, God called Balaam out, by talking out of his ass.
So, just remember as you are cursing about the hypocrisy of politicians this election year, even the most devout and highly regarded among us do the same thing. And, if your car happens to stop running on your way to do God’s work, perhaps there is a giant angel with a flaming sword in the way reminding you to keep your words and your heart in check.