I Could Not Go Beyond the Word of the Lord
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 Nu 24:10 Then Balak's anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times! 11 "Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honor." 12 So Balaam said to Balak, "Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 'If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak'? 14 "And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days."
 15 So he took up his oracle and said: "The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, And the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened; 16 The utterance of him who hears the words of God, And has the knowledge of the Most High, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Who falls down, with eyes wide open: 17 "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.
 Ro 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 Mt 8:1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." 3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." 5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." 7 And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8 The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.

I Could Not Go Beyond the Word of the Lord

13 'If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD,
There are many reasons women choose to have abortions. Certainly a major concern for a woman with an unintended pregnancy is financial considerations. The Alan Gutmacher Institute says 73% of women list financial reasons for having an abortion, another 72% list interference with career goals.

 “We can’t afford to have a baby now.” “I’m a single mom, with little education, and I won’t be able to give this baby the material things that the devil wants me to think it will need.”  “If I carry this baby to term, I will have to put my education plans on hold” My dream of being a doctor, lawyer, or the chief executive officer of an Indian tribe,  will be dashed to pieces.”

No doubt, the financial ramifications of carrying a baby to term are enormous. Why not just pay 300 dollars now, and eliminate the problem and be done with it?  

If the Lord has blessed you with children, just think of how much money you have spent on them since their conception! The doctor visits, the specialists, the diapers, the baby food, the medications, the furniture, the toys, the food during their teen years, the phone bill, the prom, the car insurance, their education, ...you get the idea...it’s a lot more than 300 dollars!

But you and I know, it is worth every penny. You and I know that you can’t put a price tag on your children.  They are a most precious gift from God! If you were reading Portals of Prayer this week, you read about the conception of Isaac in Gen 18:14, The Lord is speaking and says,

“At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Then in Gen 21:1,2, “And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son.”

Why did the Lord have to make a “special visit” to Sarah?  These passages tell of the personal involvement, the visitation  of the Lord in the creation of life. “”The Lord visited, and the Lord did for Sarah.”

He was there for the conception of Isaac, and He was there for the conception of each one of us as well.  The psalmist says,  “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret...Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed.” ) Ps 139:15,16)

We are special! Made in God’s image and by His hand. You can’t put a price tag on that. Wouldn’t you love to see a Master Card commercial that ended, “Made in His image.....priceless!”

There are other financial ramifications and even political ramifications connected with responding to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, and to trusting His promise that “children are a heritage from Him and a reward..

We are reading reports of countries in Europe and Asia where the birth rate has dropped below sustainable levels for the population. Special incentives are now being offered in some of these countries for people to have more children.

They see the writing on the wall. The future of a nation that does not reproduce itself is in the hands of those people groups who do.....and that’s exactly what’s happening in Europe with the Muslims. The Muslims right now in Europe are reproducing at a rate 3 times faster than the non-Muslim population.  

Say what you will about the Muslims, but they are people of their book, and their book says
"You should not kill your children for fear of want" (#1 reason that women have abortions) 17:31, 6:151) and many Muslims interpret this as including a ban on contraception as well as infanticide.

And so Koran believing Muslims are having babies...Christians are not. It seems we are more willing to go beyond the Word of our Lord in this area then they are willing to go beyond the word of their lord.

Our Book, says “Be fruitful and multiply....and children are a heritage from the Lord,” But we find all sorts of excuses to ignore this command and distrust this promise.

But it’s not about seeing who can have the most babies,  it’s about resisting the temptation to go “beyond the Word of the Lord.” Balak says something very interesting to Balaam in v11. Balak, (who is a type of Satan) says “I said I would greatly honor you ( bless you with material things) but in fact, (because you choose not to go beyond the Word of the Lord) the Lord has kept you back from honor. (Material blessings)

The devil tempted Jesus in the same way, promising Him all the material things the world could offer, but Jesus responded to the temptation with the Word of God. And in this matter of birth control and abortion, we need to do the same.

When the devil says, “You need to control the size of your family” or “this child will keep you from fulfilling your dreams,” you need to reply with Jesus, “Away with you Satan, for it is written “Be fruitful and multiply.” It is written, “Children are a heritage from the Lord!” It is written, thou shalt not kill!

But Pastor Matz, if we don’t limit family size and plan our children, the world will overpopulate and we’ll all die!

Yea, isn’t that just like God? I can just see Him slapping His forehead when the world’s population reaches 7 Billion. “What was I thinking when I created all these people? How am I going to feed them?”  “Anyone seen that boy with the loaf of bread and the two fish?”

Though we hear much from population alarmists, the fact is the entire world’s population would fit rather comfortably in the Metro Minneapolis/St. Paul area. And starvation isn’t due to a lack of food on planet earth. It’s more about improper distribution, due to our own greed, or an unwillingness of the haves to share with the have nots.

And to be perfectly frank....the church has failed miserably in this area. We have “gone beyond the Word of God,” for the sake of hanging onto our own gold and silver. We are not the benevolent people that God’s Word calls us to be. “As we have opportunity , let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal 6:10)

 Paul, writing to the affluent Corinthians talked about meeting the needs of the victims of famine urging that “their abundance would supply the lack.” (2Co 8:14) Loving and joyful distribution of our abundance is part of our calling. Anything less is going beyond the Word of the Lord. We must always remember that it’s not ours in the first place....all that we have, comes from God!

You know, for 1900 years, the church held to the idea that children were a blessing from the Lord. They took God’s commands about being fruitful and multiplying seriously, and they believed the promise that children are a heritage from the Lord! But in the 1930's the Episcopal church embraced birth control and the rest of the Protestant churches fell like dominos.

How ironic, that the system of Social Security also began in the 30's, and now because of birth control and legalized abortion, we are all wondering, who’s going to fund it. Legalized abortion has resulted in the loss of around 50 million lives since 1973. Lives that would’ve had a tremendous impact on the economy, but more importantly, priceless souls, that are precious in the sight of the Lord.

What will happen to us older folks when the money runs out? .......well, if it was okay to get rid of the unborn.......if the unborn are not considered a created gift from God........why not euthanize those of us who are not contributing anything to society anymore....all we’re doing is draining our children’s financial resources. Get rid of us! Put us out of your misery!  

This is the end of those who are driven by silver and gold.  But we are not to be driven by the bottom line of the world, but by the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit who seeks to keep us within the boundary lines of God’s Word. The ways of the world are posted with God’s “no trespassing” signs and we are to say with Balaam,

'If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, and the Word of the Lord says, “ Be fruitful and multiply,” and “Children are a heritage from the Lord.”   

And it’s not just about silver and gold is it? Silver and gold was just the thing that tripped Balaam’s trigger. The question for all of us is, “what trips our trigger?” What are the lusts and desires that control us and would cause us to “go beyond the Word of the Lord?”

In Jeremiah 2:23,24 we read:

 Jer 2:23 " You are a swift dromedary breaking loose in her ways,  24 A wild donkey used to the wilderness, That sniffs at the wind in her desire; In her time of mating, who can turn her away?

God’s Law has given us boundaries. These boundaries are meant for our well being, but when we have our mind set on sinning, God’s Law hardly slows us down. Maybe it’s time we started emphasizing the positive rather than the negative. Maybe it’s time to revisit the faith of Abraham in this matter.

What does the Bible say? Abraham obeyed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness? Or, Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness? He believed. He trusted that God’s Word was true.  Can you trust Ps 127:3? Yes you can, just as sure as you can trust Jn 3:16.

Ps 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

This is a promise! It is gospel! Not Law! Believe it! Children are an inheritance, they are to be regarded as rewards. Why in the world would anyone say no to a reward from the King of the Universe? Why would anyone refuse a reward from such a loving Father? Surely His rewards are far better than any of the temporal rewards we could possibly have on earth................aren’t they? Aren’t they?

Natural family planning, can be very effective in determining the size of our families, and is certainly better than birth control, but it too seeks to limit God’s reward. God loves rewarding us with children so much, that in the Old Testament, God’s Word  only allowed marital sex  during those times when a woman was most likely to conceive.

There are no such restrictions now, but what does that tell you about God’s intent for imparting a heritage and a reward in the form of children to His people?  One of the stated purposes of marriage in God’s Word is to “produce godly offspring.”

 Mal 2:15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
In heaven, Jesus tells us that we aren’t “given to marriage” (Luke 20:35) Why? Because God will no longer be using us in the process of creating eternal souls, the number of “godly offspring” will be complete.  When Jesus comes again, the creation of souls to be redeemed will cease.
And this is the perspective that we must re-learn in the church. We must re-learn the eternal perspective of souls. Souls and their value are not to be measured by that which is temporal. Gold and silver are not to determine our actions..........they are temporal, the Word of God and souls are not. They are eternal!

Get that perspective and know that in eternity, in regard to souls, all will be as it should be.

In our epistle lesson today, we are told to “live peaceably with all men.” Like it or not, we become “men” at conception. It is at conception that we become an eternal soul. David said, “in sin, my mother conceived me. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. If these two statements are true, then we must be alive at conception, because in order to exact the wage of sin (death) you must first be living!

Also in our epistle lesson, we are told to give food and drink to our enemy....if we are to do this for an enemy, what should we be doing for the unborn? Have we made them worse than our enemies as we not only deny them food and drink, but life itself?  

Don’t allow evil to overcome you! Rather overcome evil with good! Don’t allow silver or gold, or anything else cause you to go beyond the Word of the Lord!

But what about those times in the past when you have been swayed by silver and gold. What about those times when you were blinded by the lust of the world. What about those times when your flesh overpowered you and you gave in to temptation and ignored the word of God. What about those times when you hopped over the fence  and “trespassed?” Is there any hope for you?

Oh yes there is! A thousand times yes brother and sister. There is no sin, that the Lord did not pay for on Calvary, there is no sin that He won’t forgive. In our gospel lesson, a leper, so full of disease, so rotten that his body parts are falling off came to Jesus and He said, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.”

We are all like that leper. We are all full of the disease of sin, rotten through and through. But the leper simply came to Jesus and worshiped Him. How did he do that? Did he start singing Kum by Yah? Did he break out in unabated praise? No! He simply believed that Jesus was able and willing to make him whole.

THIS IS TRUE WORSHIP!  I invite you to come to Jesus this morning and worship Him. Believe His Word. Believe that He paid the price for your sins and that HE is willing and able to forgive them all and make you whole..

And if you struggle with receiving His forgiveness because you have judged your sin as being unforgivable, listen to His response to the leper, and may the Holy Spirit allow that response to reach down to the depth of your soul  May it be written on your heart from this day forth!

Jesus says to you in regard to your sin, “I am willing......be cleansed.”