Honor Comes Later

“God has held you back from honor…” (Numbers 24:11). So says worldly King Balak to God’s prophet Balaam. Balak was squirming. Moses and the Hebrews had come out of Egypt. The miraculous stories were out there (“Did you hear about the plagues? What about the Red Sea parting? How’d they do that?”). The nations were uneasy. Even though Moses said there was nothing for them to worry about; they just wanted to pass through on their way to Canaan. However, King Balak of Moab didn’t buy it. What could he do?

He knew Balaam had something to do with God. Perhaps he could be persuaded to curse the Hebrew horde—maybe a chariot full of silver and gold could get him to do that? Though Balaam said he could only bless or curse based upon what God told him to say, Balaam was enticed. Perhaps he could be true to God and still get paid? Still be important? Still be famous? Still be revered?

When you belong to the One who was “despised and rejected” and was a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) where did we ever get the notion it wouldn’t be the same for us? I’m not sure but we got the notion and we need to shake it.

In a world where getting ahead is often described as it’s “not what you know but who you know”; and in a world that says “you do this for me and I’ll do this for you”; and in a world that says “everyone is doing it”—it is so easy to capitulate to culture and cave on what we know God would have us do. We want our honor now.

The world is quite good at getting us to think we are missing out as a Christian. Satan also whispers this in our ear. As if those external enemies aren’t enough, our internal fallen nature also piles on: “You know you’d be having more fun if you weren’t a Christian.” “Think what you could do with the money you give to the church.” “Aren’t you tired of serving in the shadows? It’s your time to be honored.”

Balak’s parting shot at Balaam must have connected—probably was effective, “God has held you back from honor.” We can say this because Balaam was later put to death by Moses (Numbers 31:8) for his role in trying to spiritually trip up Israel (Numbers 31:16). Centuries later, he even gets called out in 2 Peter 2:15 as one who “loved gain from wrongdoing.” Revelation 2:14 nails Balaam again, that he “put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel” getting them to “practice sexual immorality.”

At the end of the day, Balaam believed God held him back from honor. So he went to get his. Not a wise decision. It would cost him his life; it may have cost him his soul. God knows when it’s our time to be honored; most of the time that’s taken care of up there. And that should be just fine with us.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
February 12, 2015

1 comment

  1. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING this world has to offer can even begin to approximate that which the sovereign Lord God Almighty has stored up in heaven for those He has chosen to be His children. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for ALL You are doing each day through the Holy Spirit in us to keep us focused on You and Your coming kingdom.

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