"But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality... He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it." - Revelation 2:14, 17 ESV
Thinking about hidden manna and the name we are given by God. Both are hidden. The manna was hidden in the Ark of the covenant in an urn of gold (see Hebrews 9:4) and the name is also hidden in a kind of code that only we know how to decipher.
Balaam heard God's voice but was tempted leverage his spirituality for gain. He used what he knew of weakness in people to try and have both spirituality and gain. It corrupted him and caused a strange obsession. Balaam could not curse Israel but became obsessed with finding a loophole.
I find that wanting to have my cake and eat it also puts me in danger. If I try to protect my self life or in sentimentality protect someone else's I can live in Balaam's teaching and rationalize my carnality. Wow.
But, There is a prize for being a grace overcomer... a secret prize... food hidden inside of something else... manna no one else can see... the original good stuff that feeds a soul so it needs nothing else... no work necessary just gathering daily what comes from Heaven... and a name that is special... a name only God and the individual know... a secret connection that can never be taken away.
Grace speaks to me like God calling me by my special name.
It has the same power as an old friend showing up in our adult life and calling us by a beloved nickname we were only called as a child. Our young may not be known by our adult circle but at the hearing of that name spoke aloud we realize we are known and remembered. Grace when it comes fresh gives us that rush of shared intimacy.
Today there may be pressures to sell out our faith and live a double minded existence. Hold the stone with your name on it in a palm of your hand. Feel the substance of your new identity and the intimacy of your new name and nature. If we overcome we win over double minded with intimacy as our prize.
"For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ," - 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ESV
Yes and amen.