16 December, Monday – Desiring To Know God

16 Dec 2019

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Numbers 24:2-7,15-17

Raising his eyes Balaam saw Israel, encamped by tribes; the spirit of God came on him and he declaimed his poem. He said:
 
‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,
the oracle of one who hears the word of God.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see,
receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
How fair are your tents, O Jacob!
How fair your dwellings, Israel!
Like valleys that stretch afar,
like gardens by the banks of a river,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
like cedars beside the waters!
A hero arises from their stock,
he reigns over countless peoples.
His king is greater than Agag,
his majesty is exalted.’
 
Then Balaam declaimed his poem again. He said:
 
‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,
the oracle of one who hears the word of God,
of one who knows the knowledge of the Most High.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see,
receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
I see him – but not in the present,
I behold him – but not close at hand:
a star from Jacob takes the leadership,
a sceptre arises from Israel.’

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Matthew 21:23-27

Jesus had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’ ‘And I’ replied Jesus ‘will ask you a question, only one; if you tell me the answer to it, I will then tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: where did it come from: heaven or man?’ And they argued it out this way among themselves, ‘If we say from heaven, he will retort, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”; but if we say from man, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’ So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And he retorted, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

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“And I… will ask you a question, only one.”

I have always desired to experience God in a similar way Moses did. I have a whole list of questions about life, about heaven, and how eternal life would look like. I would ask about what He desired me to do with my life, and about the choices, He would like me to make. All to know and to learn.

I wonder, however, how God would interact with me if my desire for “perfect knowledge” was not so much for His glory, but for my own. What if I wanted to have some winning numbers for the lottery so that I could enjoy life as a rich man? Or to use this knowledge so I could gain an advantage over others?

In today’s Gospel reading, we read about some chief priests and elders coming to Jesus to ask Him as to the source of His authority. Jesus was aware of the intention behind this; which was the hope to use His words to trap Him.

Jesus knew their intention and instead of answering their question, returns with another question. The elders and the chief priests run through their minds the possible responses Jesus could have to their answers, chose to give a totally different answer.

I can see parallels to how I speak with God. While I have no intention of trying to trick God, I (unknowingly, of course), “force” God to choose His answers from the list of choices I have. I remember how, years ago, I had been praying hard for God to give me a job I wanted. In my heart and mind, I was trying to twist God’s arm into making it happen to me.  However, what finally happened was totally unexpected. It was not apparent to me then, but God did answer my question.

Let us learn to approach our God with pure hearts and with pure intentions. Only then will we be able to hear His answer.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Teach us, Lord Jesus, to be open to You. Help us learn to approach You with pure and clean hearts.

Thanksgiving: We are grateful, Father, that You alone can know our hearts. Thank You for loving and guiding us despite our iniquities.

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