Seventeen years ago I was keenly interested in a widow in our church. Renfro laughed at me for saying she and I had a conversation in which we negotiated whether we could date or not. Listen, if there are things on which you do not agree, either negotiate a lasting change or else keep on trucking.
I negotiated an agreement for a change, but the agreement didn’t last. I desperately wanted to marry her, but there came a time when I knew that relationship was over. We were not agreeing, and she asked me to pray about it. But God had already told me. I remember right where I was standing - beside the A/C unit in my back yard - when God spoke to my spirit, "Slow down."
I remembered the story of Balaam. Balak, the king of Moab, sent messengers with a fee to ask Balaam to curse the Israelites. God told the prophet he couldn’t do that, because his people were blessed.
King Balak upped the offer. He sent other princes more numerous and distinguished than the first. (You can read this in Num. 22.) They offered a handsome reward. Balaam prayed again and felt the Lord told him he could go with the messengers but do only what God told him.
There followed that account of Balaam’s riding his donkey between two stone walls. The donkey saw an angel of God, which the prophet did not see. That’s another sermon. Finally Balaam recognized the angel, who said, "Go with the men but speak only what I tell you."
He was never allowed to curse the people of God, but he did tell Balak a way to get the people to bring curses on themselves by engaging in sex sins. He brought destruction to himself and others.
She then said, "I can’t make this change without your marrying me and being there to support me." Then I remembered Abraham, to whom God had promised a son. When that child didn’t appear, Sarah suggested Abraham father a child by her handmaiden and they would count it as their own child. You know the problems that arose when Abraham fathered Ishmael. Fourteen years later God gave Abraham and Sarah a son named Isaac.
So I replied, "You told me God had already given you a plan to deal with this situation, which you have not followed - God’s plan, not mine. To approach a solution another way would be to go against the direction of the Lord."
Then a concerned person wrote a prophecy and sent it to me, confirming again that this relationship was not right.
So I had all the things I preach for guidance: circumstances (We were in conflict), Balaam and Abraham’s experiences in the Word of God, a word through another Christian, and God’s speaking directly to my spirit.
I want you to know that living by my own preaching in that instance was very hard, but suppose I had disobeyed. I would have missed my Honey, whom God restored to me after our first courtship twenty-five years ago! What a high price I would have paid!
What if I had been headstrong, ignored God and married the other woman? We would have lived in sharp conflict, if we had lived at all. Her life ended in a most ignominious manner. She took her own life in an inglorious fashion. She might have taken mine in her melancholy.
Listen, the price you pay for obeying God at the moment may be nothing compared to what you will pay for disobeying. More positively, the high price at the moment pales in comparison to the reward of going back and marrying the first woman you ever fell in love with. God is restoring to us the years that the locusts have eaten.