Reading from Numbers 22-24.
The reading today deals with the prophetic work of one of the prophets of the Old Testament. This is a prophet who was in the “ministry” for a profit. He was in it to make all he could.
The Moabite people were fearful of this massive group of people who were traveling across their part of the wilderness. The king of Moab, Balak, calls for Balaam the prophet of whom we speak. The comment of Scripture says,
“And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.” 22:3
Let’s first examine who the people called the Moabites are; just to keep it in mind. Moab was one of the sons of Lot by the eldest daughter (Genesis 19:37). So by this we can see a kinship between these two people – Moab and Israel. Of course, many years have passed, more than four hundred at least.
Balak calls for the prophet Balaam, and seeks him so that he may curse Israel. Israel is a nation blessed by GOD. Called out of Egypt by GOD. Led by GOD. A questions should enter our minds upon reading this, “How can a prophet of GOD even consider taking Moab up on this thought. They have promised him great reward.
The prophet is blind to the ways of God. God tells Balaam, after he has already turned down Balak’s first request to come, and he sends a second group of messengers,
“And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, ‘If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.'” 22:20
Here is Balaam’s fault. If you will note what God says; Balaam is to not go with the men unless they come to call him; yet Balaam arises and goes to them. He is eager to go and curse Israel, yet says, “All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do.” 23:26.
In the process of all this we find that his eyes are not open as he says in 24:3, but that they are set on deception, and the receiving of blessing for himself and funds for his pocket. His ride has more spiritual perception than Balaam does (22:22-35).
By the end of chapter 24 we see Balaam speaking prophetic words of blessing upon Israel. Yet, be warned Balaam is still a prophet of the worst sort. We are warned of his work and “ministry” in the New Testament:
“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” 2 Peter 2:15-16″Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude v. 11
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Revelation 2:14
Later on in the daily readings we will see that the prophet finally succeeded in gaining what he wanted, yet failed GOD and His people greatly.
Remember to read Numbers 22 – 24 for today’s reading.
-Tim A. Blankenship