“When Balaam saw that God wanted to bless Israel, he didn’t look for omens as he had done before. He turned toward the desert, looked up, and saw Israel’s camp grouped by tribes. The Spirit of God entered him.” Numbers 24: 1-2
Originally, Balaam was out to earn a good fee and please King Balak. He was paid to curse Israel and although he told Balak up front that he would only say what God told him to say, his expectation was to be cursing Israel. Therefore, he looked for omens that confirmed his expectations.
Twice he set up sacrifices to impress everyone and encourage omens. Twice God did the unexpected and blessed Israel instead of cursing them. The third time, Balaam gets it and looks for God instead of omens. That’s when his relationship with God changes. When Balaam was looking for omens, God simply “came” to him. But when Balaam quits looking for omens to confirm his expectations and looked instead for what God wanted to share, then God’s Spirit “entered” him.
We have our plans and dreams and hopes and expectations and we spend a lot of time and energy looking for the “omens” that promise our satisfaction. We look for sunshine, a favorite thing, a special “sign”. We call it “good luck” or “good fortune” or “God’s favor”. During these times, God can only come to us because we are looking for what He can do for us (His presents) instead of looking for God Himself (His presence).
We don’t always see what God wants us to do because our ideas of what we want Him to do get in the way. But if we follow Balaam’s example, we can get a clearer picture. It’s a three step process:
1) Stop looking for omens, the signs that we’re going to get what we want. Put aside our wants and expectations and be willing to let God do it His way. What He wants, when He wants, how He wants to do it.
2) Turn toward the desert. Away from the distractions of life and things and people and away from our swirling, tumbling thoughts.
3) Look up. See this world, this life, this situation from God’s perspective.
Then the Spirit will enter us. He will teach us, show us, guide us and open our eyes to see God’s blessings.