And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. Numbers 22:20-21, NKJV
To get the full impact of what happened you need to read the whole story of Balaam, his donkey, and Balak, king of Moab. In spite of the fact that there's a moral to this story, there is a chuckle or two in it.
In copying the two sentences above, I finally noticed why God was angry when Balaam went to King Balak. For years I was confused about this since the Lord gave Balaam permission--or so I thought. Then I noticed the "if" clause. Do you see it? "IF the men come to call you...." Do you see? Balaam didn't wait for the men to call him--therefore, he went without permission.
Balaam probably believed without a doubt that since God gave him "almost" permission, it would be okay to go to the king and get all that promised money for cursing the Israelites.
Hmm. Am I guilty of misusing the "if" clause, firmly believing things will work out okay with God, someone else, or yourself?
"If I eat this piece of cake, I'll exercise more tomorrow to make up for it." (sure I will....)
"God will still forgive me if I step over the line just this one time." (Yes, He will--but do you use that as an excuse to do the same thing again...and again?)
"If my mom (or dad, husband, wife, etc) doesn't know that I took this (or did that), what they don't know won't hurt them." (Don't know about you, but this has way too often come back and bit me.)
Lord--please remind us not to mess with the "if" clause! Thank You, and amen!