Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, "I have sinned. I didn't realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going." Numbers 22:34
"What do you say?" This is the phrase that I've heard many parents say after their child has been caught in their disobedience. I think you probably know the answer that these parents are expecting from their child: "I'm sorry." These parents are teaching an important lesson to their children: When an offense has been made, an apology and remorse are expected.
Numbers 22:34-41 is Balaam's "I am sorry" moment. He did not take God's first command not to go to curse the Israelites seriously, allowed King Balak's messengers to influence him, and treated his donkey terribly. After beating his donkey for the last time, God opens Balaam's eyes, and he finally sees the angel blocking their path. God tells Balaam how unacceptable his behavior has been, and Balaam finally understands. He repents. He recognizes his behavior as sin and does not rationalize it. He also commits to go back home if God desires. This is a true picture of repentance.
I do not know about you, but sometimes apologizing is hard for me. I can feel remorse, know I was wrong, and still, at times, have a hard time saying the words "I'm sorry." Can you relate? While it is likely not your favorite thing to do, we all have times in our lives where we need to repent. God is gracious. When we turn to Him, He will forgive and restore us. Tomorrow we will see that He will even offer a new chance for obedience.
Do you, like me, sometimes have a hard time apologizing and repenting? Are you currently in need of repentance? Balaam is a good example of what true repentance looks like. He fully admits his sin, and he does not try to reason it away. He owns up to it, and then he turns to God.
Our call today is to take our cue from Balaam and repent when we realize our sin. We should not sugar coat it or rationalize it, but acknowledge it, repent, and turn to God.
What do you need to repent of in your life? Write it down in your notes, then write a prayer of repentance to God.
Read Numbers 22:34-41 (NLT)
Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”
But the angel of the Lord told Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials. When King Balak heard that Balaam was on the way, he went out to meet him at a Moabite town on the Arnon River at the farthest border of his land.
“Didn’t I send you an urgent invitation? Why didn’t you come right away?” Balak asked Balaam. “Didn’t you believe me when I said I would reward you richly?”
Balaam replied, “Look, now I have come, but I have no power to say whatever I want. I will speak only the message that God puts in my mouth.” Then Balaam accompanied Balak to Kiriath-huzoth, where the king sacrificed cattle and sheep. He sent portions of the meat to Balaam and the officials who were with him. The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth-baal. From there he could see some of the people of Israel spread out below him.