“Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.”
“How many times do I have to tell you?” Most of us have heard those words from our parents or teachers at one time or another. We who are parents have surely asked that question of our children. The obvious implication is that once is enough. If we have expressed our views or given our instructions once, why is there a need to repeat it?
In our text, Balak sent to Balaam and requested that Balaam speak a curse against the people of God. When Balaam asked God about this proposition, God spoke clearly to him that he was not to go with these people nor curse them, for Israel was a blessed nation. When Balaam informed Balak that he would not be cursing Israel, Balak sent to him again with more pressure and promises to reward Balaam if he would speak against God’s people. Our text reveals the mistake that Balaam made. He then went back to God to see if the Lord had anything more to say to Balaam about the situation, when he knew that God had already clearly spoken. When a child asks his parents for permission to do something and the parents say “No”, there is a reason the child continues to seek permission. It is not because he did not understand the parent’s denial, it is because he is hoping that the parent will change his mind or reverse the decision. When this happens, it is usually an indication that the child is not as interested in directly obeying the parent and accepting his will as he is interested in getting his way. So he asks again, hoping to get a different answer.
With this in mind, we have to ask ourselves some questions about our responses to the commands of God. How many times does He have to tell us? When Balaam asked God and God said “No,” it should have been enough. WHY NEED HE SAY MORE? It is easy for us to see that Balaam should have known that God had made His will abundantly clear. But what about the many commands God has made equally obvious in His Word? How about the many times God has spoken to us through preaching concerning His will for us? How many times does He have to tell us? Our first desire should be to please God, not ourselves.
We need to develop the kind of hearts and attitudes toward God and His will that when He speaks, we are ready and willing to obey.