Note: My wife and I have completed the large part of moving from St. Louis to West Henrietta, NY to take the pulpit at St. Mark. I have internet back and I have an office. In the intervening days the lectionary shifted us in the Old Testament to Numbers – the immediate wonderings of the people of Israel after the Exodus. It has been appropriate reading for a migrant.
The Old Testament reading is the set up for one of the funniest scenes in the Bible. The story of Balaam’s ass. (I’m assuming we get the second part tomorrow.) In the set up there are two intersting threads that struck me. First, all of this is taking place in Moab which is a famous enemy of Israel. Yet, Balaam is listening to the LORD. The text is YHWH. The LORD has not left even Moab without a prophet. Second, Balaam is listening the the LORD. Balal and the Moabites just want to manipulate God. That is a pagan understanding. The gods are celestial vending machines that you just have to insert the right change and bump the right way. Balaam tells the king sorry, can’t do it, the LORD said they are blessed. But, at their insistance, the LORD says go, but only say what I give you. The LORD is the LORD of all, even Moab, and the LORD is in a relationship with us. One where he speaks and instructs and wants us to ask and to listen. We don’t always listen, which leads sometimes to comic and sometimes to tragic results, but the LORD is in control.
May you ask and listen of the LORD this day.