READ: Numbers 22-23
THINK: Why do you do the things you do? Is it because you like those things? Is it because your friends or peers are into those things? Is it because you think you're supposed to do those things, or do you just feel that you have to do them? Perhaps you don't even know why you do what you do. While God is concerned about what you do, He's even more concerned about why you do it. That's because God doesn't just look at outward things; He sees your heart. So your motives matter most. Doing things out of selfish pride, peer pressure or misguided desire won't cut it. God wants you to act out of love for Him, concern for others, and a sincere desire to honor Him in all you do.
RESPOND: Why were the Moabites afraid of Israel, and did they have reason to fear? Why or why not? Who was Balaam and what did the Moabites think he could do for them? (See 22:5 note.) What was Balaam's real motivation? (See 22:18 note.) Why was God angry at Balaam after allowing him to go with the men? (See 22:22 note.) Why do you think Balaam didn't see the angel or realize God's opposition? What did God have to do to get Balaam's attention? (See 22:28 note.) Why was Balaam angry, even after this miraculous sign (22:29)? How can you tell that Balaam was not sincere in admitting his sin and promising to turn back (22:34)? How could Balaam still deliver God's message, even though he was insincere? How does this serve as a caution about how we view people who claim to speak for God but have misguided motives? Why do you think Balaam kept "playing along" with Balak's request? Why do people who claim to follow Christ play along with worldly activities, even though they know better?
PRAY: Ask God to search your heart and to expose any wrong or insincere motives. Commit to not playing games with God or trying to compromise with His enemies. Pray for sensitivity to God's guidance and for discernment regarding His message and the people who deliver it.
ACT: Are you compromising your relationship with God by toying with something the world offers? Perhaps you're in a relationship or a group of friends that's pulling you away from God. Maybe you're caught up in an activity that gives you attention but robs you of time with God or involvement in ministry. If anything like this is the case in your life, make a change by getting out of the situation or reordering your priorities. If pride keeps you from listening to or obeying God, then humble yourself and follow His direction before you get too far down the wrong path.
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