Summary: The motives of our heart are of extreme importance in getting guidance from God. Baalam was a spiritual man but the greed in his heart caused him to miss God’s will for his life.
Hearing God: Motives
Series: Hearing God #2
What does God want me to do? Have you ever wrestled with that question? Most of us have. Most of us will at some time in the future. It’s not always easy to know God’s will in a particular situation.
Last week we talked about hearing God. In that message we identified three dynamics that should be considered when determining God’s will for a given situation. Can you remember what those three factors were? (1) the subjective leading of the Holy Spirit. It might be a dream or a vision but usually it is that intuitive prompting of the Lord in your spirit (2) the word of God—principles already revealed in Scripture about the will of God for our lives—revelations about the character of God, His purposes, and His ways (3) circumstances—God in His providence going before us and preparing the way so that He sets before us an open door. There is safety in considering all three as we endeavor to hear God about a decision in life.
This morning we want to continue the subject: Hearing God. Today I want to talk about something even more fundamental than those three dynamics. What is the most basic issue in my ability to hear God’s voice? When I’m confused and don’t know what to do I cannot afford to ignore this one issue. The most crucial issue any of us face in hearing God is the motive of our own hearts. We can know our Bible backwards and forwards. We can be so spiritual that we speak with the tongues of men and angels. But if the primary pursuit of our hearts is not right we will have trouble hearing the voice of God. We will have trouble getting clear direction for our lives. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” I don’t believe that promise is just for heaven. I believe that when our hearts are pure we are in a position to see what God is doing—where He is going in our lives and follow Him.
Duplicity of heart—James calls it double mindedness. On the one hand, I want God and His blessings. I certainly don’t want to spend eternity in hell. But beyond that I want God to bless my life in the here and now. On the other hand, I want my own way and sometimes I can be stubborn about having it. Here is the paramount danger we face: that we would be asking God to tell us what to do; but at the same time deep down insisting upon certain things we are unwilling to surrender to God. “God, give me a ministry. Use me for your glory.” God lays something before and that’s not what we want to do. So we keep praying and praying and praying even though the answer has come. We just didn’t like the answer He gave so we are in reality trying to get Him to give us another answer. And when we are in that position the heavens can become very silent. Did you do the last thing God told you to do? Are you willing to hear and obey any answer He may give?
One of the best examples of this problem is found in Numbers 22.
Israel has journeyed toward Canaan land and come to the plains of Moab. Balak, the king of Moab is concerned about the situation. He wants rid of these people but he has also heard how they have been defeating those who rose up against them. In fact, the Amorites had just tried to take them on and got wiped out. So Balak comes up with a plan. He will hire a prophet to pronounce a curse on these people and then he can defeat them in battle.
He sends messengers to a man who is perfect for the job. The prophet’s name is Balaam. Balaam’s home town is probably in Northern Syria  about four hundred miles from Moab. So this man obviously has quite a reputation as a prophet. He’s not just a local want-a-be prophet. He is widely recognized as a man who can operate powerfully in the spiritual realm. At the end of verse 6 Balak has said to Balaam, “For I know that those you bless are blessed, and those you curse are cursed.”
One thing about Balaam is certain—he is very spiritual. He hears God speak to him. He has dreams and visions. His problem is not a lack of spirituality. He uses the name Yahweh, which is a strong indication that he knows the true God of Israel. There are interesting paradoxes in this man and some have tried to deal with them by simply labeling him as an evil “baru”—a pagan diviner. But the flow of the story tells us it’s not that simple. In fact, when we do that we miss a significant message about guidance. Balaam hears God speak to him. He gives some of the most powerful prophecies in all the Bible. We see his moral struggles in Chapters 22-25 and then in Chapter 31 and comments in the New Testament we see his ultimate choice.