Ignoring the Lord Num. 22:12-13 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This sermon is about ignoring the Lord. I preach this message in the fear of the Lord. The Lord may have spoken to us in his words and in preaching about a particular matter and to think that we may have ignored him is indeed a thought that causes one to tremble.
We are preaching about Balaam. In Num 22-24 we find, by his responses to the word of the Lord, that Balaam ignored what the Lord said. Often, I believe, we also ignore what God is saying. By thus ignoring the Lord, we get ourselves into lots of trouble.
The Lord said, “Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed.” At one time or another, Balaam ignored each part of this message. He went with them, he attempted to curse the people and they were indeed blessed. Why did Balaam ignore these words?
Balaam ignored the Lord by:
Failing to say all that the Lord had said to him – Num 22:13 – like Moses and Aaron failed to say all that the Lord said to them. Contrast Ex 4:22-23 with Ex 5:1-3. When God gives us a message, we are to deliver the whole thing and not just a piece of it [1 Sam 3:17; Acts 20:27]. When you ignore part of the message, you will undoubtedly ignore the part that is the most distasteful to you and, yet, the one that will keep you out of trouble later.
Failing to recognize the deceitfulness of his own heart – Num 22:16-18 – Balaam wanted the honor of prophesying for Balak and he wanted the reward that came with it. This is the error of Balaam [Jude 11]. Many men who are in the ministry ignore the Lord and are in it for personal honor and wealth. You can hardly believe the things you will do to get what you want. And these strong desires will deceive you into ignoring the Lord.
Failing to follow what the Lord said the first time – Num 22:12, 19 – the Lord had no reason to tell Balaam any more than what he had already spoken. Balaam needed to follow what the Lord said rather than to see if he could hear something “more” from the Lord that would allow him to go to Balak. When the Lord has denied you then it is time for you to let it go. You must quit ignoring what the Lord said and quit pushing.
Failing to follow what the Lord said the second time – Num 22:20 – the Lord said “if” the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them.” But he didn’t wait for them to call. He just saddled up and went with them [Num 22:21] because that’s what HE wanted to do. Often you take a course of action because you are acting on the part of the message that favors what you want to do without considering the limiting conditions the Lord has placed on your actions. When the Lord gives you more light in his words, don’t ignore a thing he says.
Failing to recognize God’s resistance to his progress – Num 22:22-34 – God was mad at Balaam and he was opposing Balaam along the course he was taking [the way of Balaam, 2 Pet 2:15]. Often God will put “obstacles” in your path when you are heading in a way that displeases him. You must recognize these as hindrances from the Lord, rather than from Satan, and you cannot ignore them.
Failing to limit himself to the words of God – Num 22:35 – Balaam was supposed to only speak what the Lord said to him. However, it is obvious from Num 25:1-2 that Balaam told Balak more than what God said. This is called the doctrine of Balaam [Rev 2:14]. He taught Balak that God would destroy the Jews for fornicating with the daughters of Moab and for sacrificing to their gods. You cannot ignore the Lord and add to God’s words for any reason without terrible consequences.
Failing to realize that God’s blessings on Israel would result in God’s curse against him – Num 31:8 – when Balaam advised Balak of the whoredoms and sacrifices that could hurt the Jews, and thereby gain himself some honor and recognition and perhaps some gain, he opposed God. He ignored God’s blessing on Israel. You cannot oppose Israel, the blessed nation, without putting yourself under a curse!!
Conclusion: You cannot ignore God and get away with it. You must listen carefully to every word he speaks and follow every thing he says.