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God Opens Your Eyes To Barriers

“Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.” (Numbers 22:31 NIV)

You have some things you’ve wanted to do your whole life. You have goals and dreams you’ve been waiting to get started on. You want to start a business, start a family, or pursue a particular career. You’re trying the best you can, but you can’t seem to get started. You don’t know why.

You need the Holy Spirit to open your eyes — or illuminate — the barrier in your way.

You need God to do with you what he did with Balaam in Numbers 22. You may remember the story. Balaam was a prophet of God who agreed to help the bad guys. As Balaam started his journey to help the wrong people, God put an angel in his way to block his path. But Balaam couldn’t see the angel; his barrier was invisible. Yet Balaam’s donkey did see the angel and wouldn’t go anywhere near it. So Balaam angrily beat the donkey. In fact, Balaam beat the donkey three times. Balaam was so hard-headed that his donkey spoke up to try and talk some sense into him!

Finally, the Bible says, “Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown” (Numbers 22:31 NIV).

Something was blocking Balaam’s progress, but he couldn’t see what it was. Then God opened his eyes. The biblical word for that is “illumination.”

God wants to open up your eyes, too. You have plans in your life that aren’t working out. You’re blocked at every turn. And you’re getting mad at everyone else in the process — your husband, your wife, your kids — everyone. You’re mad at everyone else because you can’t see what the real problem is.

When your progress is being blocked, you have two choices. You can either beat the donkey or let God open your eyes. Either get mad at everyone around you, or turn to God for help.

Your problem is, you can’t see the problem! But God does. Ask him to open your eyes as he opened up Balaam’s.

Talk About It

  • What problem have you been facing that needs God’s clarification?
  • Are you prepared to accept whatever clarification and solution God gives you once you ask for illumination?


This May, Saddleback Church will host Summit VIII to inspire and equip Christians to effectively live out God’s love for the orphan through adoption, foster care, and global initiatives. Learn more about Summit at  

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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