Balaam-A Warning

Balaam-A Warning

In Chapters 22-24, we read the story of Balaam. There is an important passage here concerning a number of matters. When King Balak invited Balaam the prophet to come and curse Israel, Balaam sought the will of God. And God clearly told Balaam not to go. But then King Balak said he would give him more honour and more money if he came. Then Balaam said he would seek God's will again. What was the need to seek God's will a second time, when God who knows the end from the beginning had already told him not to go? But he was eager to get the money and honour.

The bible says that Balaam "loved the wages of unrighteousness" (II Peter 2:15)

You may find yourself in situations like that, where you seek God and sense very clearly in your spirit that God does not want you to go somewhere. Then you find the salary there to be very attractive and you are tempted "to seek God's will again"!! Whenever you face such a temptation in the future, remember Balaam. God doesn't change his mind, just because the salary is more attractive, or the honour is greater. But where God sees that a man wants to go a certain way, God won't necessarily stop him. He will let him go. This why7 God told Balaam to go when Balaam asked him the second time. That was not God's perfect will. He would not over-ride Balaams free will and make him into a robot. He saw that Balaam really wanted to go. So God said "go". This was something like the father of the prodigal son allowing his son to go to the far country. God has given us freedom of choice and He will never override our free will.

But God still sent His angel to stop Balaam. Balaam himself could not see the angel, but his donkey could. What lesson do we learn from this? Just this: When a man is blinded by the love of money, even a donkey will be able to see spiritual realities more clearly than him! Because that donkey did not love money, it could see the angel clearly! Baalam could not because he loved money.

Balaam experienced the Spirit of God coming upon him; and he prophesied about the Christ's coming (Numbers 24:2,17) But he lost everything, because of his love for money.

then Balaam suggested a clever tactic to the people of Moab. He told them that the best way to destroy the Israelites was by making their God Himself to turn against them. And the best way to make God turn against His people was by making them immoral. So he asked them to send their pretty daughters into the Israeli camp to seduce the Israeli men. This Israel fell not only into immorality but also into the worship of the idols that theses Moabites girls brought into the Israeli camp. (see Numbers 23:1 with Revelations 2:14). And sure enough God punished the Isrealites severely. 24,000 people died of a plague (Numbers 25:9). This is the way that Satan has polluted believers today as well. Let us learn Satan's schemes from Balaam and be alert.

As the plague began to spread through the camp of Israel and the people were dying like flies, the whole nation would have been wiped out there by Balaam's tactic if it had not been for the zeal of one man, Phinehas, Aaron's grandson (See Numbers 25:9 onwards). Phineshas took a spear and went into one the tents and killed a man and the Midianite woman he had brought into the tent. that stopped the plague.

And because of his zeal for God's name and honour, God made a covenant with Phinehas that his descendants would be priests in Israel forever. God honors those who stand boldly for Him-even if they have to take hard decisions against others and become unpopular thereby.

In Chapter 26 we read of the second census. We see here the persistence of God in bringing them back to Kadesh-barnea and giving them a second chance to enter the promise land. He is the God of the second chance. This is a great encouragement for those who have failed. In fact, He is the God of the millionth chance! He forgives us again and again and gives us any number of chances to enter the life of victory.

In 27:15-23 we see Moses asking the Lord to appoint someone of His choice to succeed him as Israel's leader, to lead them into Canaan. Moses had two sons. But he did not hand over the leadership of God's people to them-as many Christians leaders do today. He was a man of God.

And he was not interested in starting a royal dynasty of his own!! He sought God's will and God told him to appoint Joshua ("a man in whom is the Spirit")- verse 18) as the next leader of Israel.

And Moses did that immediately.

In Chapters 28 and 29 are some more laws about offerings. Then in Chapter 30 is a law concerning vows. We read something interesting here- that a father can cancel a vow that his daughter makes foolishly and a husband can cancel a foolish vow that his wife makes. But if the father and husband hear the vow and say nothing then the vow stands. This shows how important it is for us to exercise our authority as fathers over our children that they do not go in foolish ways and as husbands to be the head in our homes, so that our wives do not lead our homes astray by some foolishness.

In Chapter 32, we read of the compromise of the tribes of Reuben and Gad. Because they were enormously wealthy in cattle, they were on the constant look out for good pasture for their herds. So when they saw some good land in Gilead-on the eastern side of Jordan (not within Canaan), they asked Moses for permission to settle down there. They rejected the call of God to enter the promised land. Even after 40 years of wanderings, they had not learnt a lesson. What does God do with such people who are more interested in their business and wealth than in a life of victory? He lets them go their way. So Moses permitted them to settle there. They are a picture of may believers who have chosen worldly affluence above spiritual values.

Moses words to them are a stinging rebuke to many comfort-loving believers today: "What, shall your brethren go to fight, and will you sit here?" (Numbers 32:6)

They finally agreed to help the other tribes posses Canaan; but said that after that they would prefer to come back to settle in this prosperous land east of Jordan.

In Numbers 35, we read of God appointing "six cities of refuge" where people who killed others accidentally could flee to escape the wrath of the relatives of the dead man. Accidentally killing man is not in the same category as murder- and God made provision for such people to be protected, while not sparing murderers. In all the laws that God gave, we see Him unsparing against deliberate sin, but always providing mercifully for unintentional sin. We saw that in our study of Leviticus and now here too. It is amazing indeed then that such a holy God should so mercifully forgive us who have sinned deliberately so often. Praise god for his grace and mercy towards us.