To those who could care less about who the God of the Bible is, He is completely unseen. Our school textbooks attest to the spectacular yet random construction of our universe earth over billions of years, the logical yet miraculous mutation of cells to form what we know as humans, and the further development of our consciousness through our inbred necessity to survive. Socially, religion is silly and superstitious, a taboo subject and a mark of foolishness.
However, at the core, most people do believe in some form of God. But in day-to-day operations, it is more convenient to ignore Him, to continue living our lives as if we cannot see Him, or to make Him something else altogether. We resort to our own devices to dictate who God should be — we construct personal religions or faiths, because “everyone is right in their own way,” and we’d rather not rock the boat than discuss religion with people anyway. And things start getting tossed out, one by one.
The process isn’t immediate. It’s gradual. If you find yourself fading, take a look at this progression and see where you stand.
We see God, then run the other way. (v. 1-6)
Whenever we face a convicting situation, involved in something we know we probably shouldn’t be doing anymore, we have a choice: to stop it and draw closer to the Lord, or to turn and head another direction. The hard choice is obedience, because it means we have to humble ourselves. But it seems easier to just turn around. Why bother?
We hear God, but refuse to listen. (v. 10-17)
Even after seeking out what He says to us, perhaps through prayer or through what the Bible says, we can decide to compromise or completely ignore His instruction. Once again, sometimes what He says can be inconvenient to our personal preference. So we cover our ears or drown it all out with another noise and go about our business.
We attempt to manipulate God. (v. 18-19)
Even after knowing who God is and what He says, we look at our own lives, decide that God isn’t who we’d like Him to be, and start molding Him into something that fits our archetype. This minimizes God and makes Him subservient; essentially, it’s “God-in-a-box” — but what’s really happening is, we’ve become the god of ourselves. God isn’t a big deal at all — He’s just an entity getting in the way of my personal ambitions.
We refuse God’s presence altogether. (v. 22-33)
In the case of Balaam, he becomes completely blind to God after trying to manipulate Him. God might be tapping us on the shoulder, but we won’t see Him if we care not to notice. Much like a hardened criminal that has absolutely decided the law is the enemy, we eliminate the truth from our conscious thoughts and continue in ignorance, and God finally becomes invisible.
The quick road back: humility. (v. 34)
We don’t like being wrong. We’ll fight to defend our pride until the sword is dull, the fatigues get tattered, and we’re fighting for every breath. If you can’t see God, it’s not a mystery. Many people don’t, because they’ve definitively refused to do so.
Instead of fighting so hard, wouldn’t it make sense to just turn around and go back to Him? But that move requires you to put your pride away and be wrong. It means acknowledging that God does, in fact, exist, and that He’s desperately trying to get your attention.
Jesus didn’t come to die just to make a religion; in fact, it’s almost like He installed a reset button, making salvation and restoration readily available to us. It’s like a warp zone. Or a cheat code. Or respawning as Chuck Norris.
It’s never too late to start over. So go ahead and hit reset. Right now.