The Teaching of Balaam - Numbers 23 - 25   

The Teaching of Balaam - Numbers 23 - 25   

There are so many interesting aspects of this story, especially the talking of the donkey. I want to think about speaking what God speaks.

God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you shall you do.” (22:20). Again, "the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word which I tell you.” (22:35) 

BUT…  Balaam understood this perfectly. So, time and again he repeats this to Balak (22:8, 18, 38; 23:12, 26; 24:12-13). YET, each time, he does go and inquire yet again of the LORD.

The desire for honor and riches has a strong pull upon the hearts of man, and Balaam is no different. While he might be commended for his continued stand upon what the Lord has said, we see something else. He kept asking for a different answer. The answer, coming from God who "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (23:19)

Balaam teaches Balak to seduce Israel into idolatry and immorality (see below). Without ever changing God's word, without ever lying about what God said, Balaam found a way to have Israel cursed and to thus receive the desired riches and honor! For THIS, he is forever cursed and denounced of God.

In the New Testament, Peter writes about false teachers who ""forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved." (2 Peter 2:15–17)

Jude adds: "Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah." (Jude 11)

Finally, John records the problem that Balaam's example has for the church: "‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality." (Revelation 2:14)

Have we been like Balaam? Have we desired what God has forbidden, and sought a way to get it without violating the 'specific' statement of God? The desire for riches and honor still is a problem, even for godly people! Be careful. Speak as God speaks. Accept what God says! 

Hugh DeLong