· 89 pursuing unity with God, en route to the Promised Land
· 3 commands of God
· 6 temptations to do the wrong thing
· 9 acts of disobedience
· 4 warnings of judgment
· 7 actual events of judgment
· 1 act of extreme never-ending love of God
· 3 acts of repentance
· 9 acts of restoration returning to unity with God
In Chapter 21, Israel continues its schizophrenic ping pong match with God. Two more harsh judgments come, the first with a warning, followed by repentance and restoration. But the second judgment comes with no warning. God has seen enough of this pattern. In his rage, fiery serpents rain down on all Israel and many die. So the people repent again, this time with sincere hearts.
Question: how bad must judgment from God get before a nation wakes up and realizes it is opposing God and will likely be destroyed?
How far down that road is America at this very moment, amid rampant scandal and terrorism, especially directed at Christians? What will it take for the Unity States of America to repent and be restored?
This question was on my mind and heart as I studied the story of Balaam and his donkey in Chapters 22 to 24 (please read these chapters right now – a great story). Balaam is a famous diviner and soothsayer who is able to talk with God (God reserves the right to use whomever he wants for his purposes), who is known as one who blesses and curses on a whim with impunity. Using Balaam’s donkey, which can see the angel of God with sword drawn while Balaam cannot see, God tells Balaam that he shall not curse Israel because they are blessed by God.
The lowly donkey becomes Balaam’s deliverer because the angel would have killed him had it not been for the donkey, which suffered great persecution from Balaam to protect his master. To his credit, a humbled Balaam obeys God and blesses Israel in the face of its enemies.
Then it struck me – how might Balaam and today’s America be compared? And how might Balaam’s donkey and a unified church of Jesus Christ be compared?
The key is that America has not always been arrogant and amoral like Balaam. American “exceptionalism” used to mean having a higher cause and mission based on the Judeo-Christian principles on which the country was founded – freedom! Today the term has been twisted to accusatory, and I believe God is not pleased. America now resembles a blind Balaam, riding straight toward destruction – unless it has a donkey willing to suffer to open its eyes.
Will the church open its eyes to its lack of unity soon enough to save America?
Are we just a dumb donkey carrying the blind remnants of a great nation, or a deliverer of the greatest nation the world has ever known?