The Error of Balaam
The Error of Balaam
Balaam was a man "who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty" (Num. 24:4). It records that it is he "… who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty" (Num. 24:16). God spoke to Balaam.
Balaam's attitude about God's word is instructive and correct. When offered reward the 2nd time he responded: "Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more" (Numbers 22:18). In 22:38 he states: "Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak." Then again he responds: "Must I not take care to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?" (Num. 23:12). Yet again Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘All that the Lord says, that I must do’?” (Num. 23:26). When confronted by the angry Balak, Balaam reminds him: "Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak’? (Num. 24:12-13).
Whatever else you might say about this man, he understood that men should not speak beyond what God has revealed. He must take care to speak what the LORD says, no more, no less. Man is to do all that the Lord says. This has never changed.
Yet there is an ungodly attitude within the heart of Balaam for, wanting the reward of unrighteousness, he found a way to have Israel cursed. Jude wrote of "Balaam's error" (Jude 11). Peter spoke of those who had gone astray saying they "have followed the way of Balaam… who loved gain from wrongdoing" (2Pet. 2:15). To the church in Pergamum the Lord said: "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" (Revelation 2:14)
When one loves money he will find a way to serve it even if it means sinning or teaching others to sin. While Balaam's attitude about God's word is admirable, his attitude toward money is deplorable. Jesus stated: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24). I wonder what Balaam would NOW give in exchange for his soul?
Even his donkey knew better than to challenge the LORD. (You just can't write an article about Balaam without mentioning the donkey!).