Week 38 Monday

No Matter What

Today’s scripture selection: Numbers 21-24

Key verse: Numbers 24:13

A ruler named Balak wanted to hear something from a prophet named Balaam.  There was only one problem: like many rulers, Balak only wanted to hear what he wanted to hear.

He didn’t want the truth – he wanted to hear he was right.

He didn’t want counsel – he wanted to be told he could do no wrong.

He didn’t want a real, prophetic word – he wanted a “yes” man.

The story goes that, by God’s intervention, Balaam was unable to curse Israel – which is what Balak wanted to hear.  Instead, this is what he had to say:

“Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LORD – and I must say only what the LORD says’?”

Apparently, God made it so Balaam could only prophesy that God’s plans would triumph – despite Balak’s desire for something else to happen.

Well, what about if we acted like Balaam in our lives – not because of being forced to do so, but because it was our deepest desire to do so?  What if, no matter what, we spoke only God’s truth to others?

It would take courage.  It would require deep conviction and faith.  And those are rare commodities – even today.

But wouldn’t it be great if we could all act with such confidence?  It seems to me that we would all sleep better if we could act with bold assertion; sure that we have only one choice – to always do as the LORD instructed.

Well, we can.

It will take prayer – and study – and faith – but we, like the faithful prophets of old can live out our lives in just that way.

With God’s help, we can commit to the proposition that we will not waiver; we will not be convinced otherwise; we will be faithful to what we believe and know, deep in our souls, no matter what.

And who knows what changes – for good – that will bring?

Prayer: Holy God, give me the courage and the conviction to speak only your truth.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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