“God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “Since these men have come to summon you, get up and go with them, but you must only do what I tell you.”
But God was incensed that Balaam was going, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand on the path to oppose him. Balaam was riding his donkey, and his two servants were with him.
Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that You were standing in the path to confront me. And now, if it is evil in Your sight, I will go back.” Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you are to say only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.”
Numbers 22:20, 22, 34-35 HCSB
These three sets of verses are surrounding a single event that I am having a little trouble getting my head around. Balaam is following the Lord’s instruction to go (he didn’t go the first time because the Lord told him not to). But by going he upsets the Lord who stops him. Then when he inquires of the angel, he learns that he is in fact supposed to go ahead, but all the while only do what the Lord tells him.
I wonder if the Lord was upset, not because Balaam had chosen to go, but because Balak, the king who summoned him had been so persistent, and he wanted to drive home to Balaam the importance of doing exactly what he has been instructed to do.