A COMPROMISER’S FALL- Balaam, the prophet
Posted by Shofar
BALAAM- THE DISOBEDIENT, SELF-WILLED, AND COMPROMISING PROPHET
“And God said to Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12)
“And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.” (Numbers 22:22)
Balaam- the Story of a Great Compromiser
This story of Balaam, the prophet, is an excellent illustration of how a person who starts well with God can progressively backslide and eventually lose all of his reward. Compromise is a root cause of the today’s apostasy in the churches and of the great falling away (2Th2:1-3). The Bible account in Numbers chapters 22-24 is a good example of how compromising God’s Word is a step in the wrong direction- when a person professes a personal relationship with God, but begins to backslide. He should know when he pleases or displeases God, and should be able to recognize truth from error.
What happened to Balaam illustrates the weaknesses of many believers today, including many high-profile Christian leaders and evangelists, who succumb to the ‘the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life’ (1Jn2:15-16). Leaders active in God’s work are prime targets of Satan, who seeks to destroy them, and also bring embarrassment to the Church. It is evident that Satan has made great inroads today by the increasing number of scandals involving Christian leaders taking place in the U.S. and all over the world. Jesus warned us about great deception as a sign of the last days (Mt24:4,11,24).
Balaam, a Prophet of God
Balaam was a believer and a noted prophet of Jehovah God. He had a reputation for being a strong prophetic voice to the Israelites. Balaam was presented a challenge and a big temptation when King Balak of Moab, enticed him with rewards and great honor if he would prophesy a curse against Israel. The setting of this Bible account was after the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt in the days of Moses, before entering into the Promise Land. King Balak feared being conquered by Israel, so he sent messengers to fetch Balaam for the purpose of pronouncing a curse upon Israel in order to defeat them in battle. Balaam knew that Israel was chosen of God and was a nation blessed by God. As a descendent of Esau, the son of Isaac, Balaam was acquainted with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the commandments of God.
Using Balaam as an example of a grievous backslider, this is what the apostle Peter said to the early Church:
“(Backsliders) 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 Pe 2:15,16)
Balaam- Disobedient, Dishonest and Manipulative
Balaam did not listen to what God told him to do. After God told Balaam not to have any dealings with Balak, Balaam still persisted to do so. He was reluctant to obey God. Disobedience to God is what starts believers on the wrong path, the ‘downward slide of a compromiser’. Some other names of a compromiser are hypocrite, middle-roader, fence-straggler, uncommitted Christian, left-wing believer, and a ‘lukewarm’ person of the Laodicean church who Jesus said “I will spew thee out of my mouth”. (Rev 3:15,16).
Balaam not willing to accept God’s Word, was self-willed in wanting to get his own way. He stubbornly set his mind to consider Balak’s offer of riches and honor. When King Balak’s messengers told Balaam that he should come and curse Israel, Balaam told them to spend the night and he would see what God would tell him. This is the account in Numbers 22:
22:10 And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying,
11 Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out.
12 And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.
13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you.
God told Balaam two things 1) Don’t go with them, and 2) He must not curse the people because they are blessed. But Balaam did not tell the messengers the reason why he could not go, and that God said ‘thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed’. Balaam was deceitful by not telling the whole truth and concealing information. To withhold information is to be complicit in deceit. Balaam withheld the main reason why he could not go to Balak by saying only “the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you”. (Num 22:13)
King Balak Sent A Second Contingent After the 1st Group Left
Num 22:14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us.
15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.
16 And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me:
17 For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.
18 And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.
19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.
20 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.
21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
Balaam’s Deceitfulness and Temptation to Sin
Balaam did not resist temptation and chose to be evasive. By being dishonest, Balaam misled the Moabite messengers and King Balak, and misrepresented God. He avoided and skirted around the part about the ‘curse’, thinking that he could get God’s permission to go and he would say what God would have him to say at that time, whatever that would be. He also knew that God would not let him curse Israel, but he still wanted to go to Balak in the worse way. He could not say “No”.
22:18 And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.
Here we see the extent to which a person may rationalize his position for the temporary pleasure and gratification of sin. Balaam was tempted and blinded by the strong promise of riches and honor from King Balak. Contrast this with the Moses’ testimony from Heb 11:25-26:
“Moses preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.” (AMP Bible)
Balaam’s Stubborn Will vs Doing God’s Will
Balaam stalled Balak’s 2nd group with an overnight stay as he did the first group of messengers so he could consult with God again. This time God said he could go if the messengers call him in the morning to go with them. But Balaam did not follow God’s instructions and instead was up early and saddled up to go with the princes of Moab.
Balaam’s Disobedience Incurred God’s Displeasure and Anger
22:22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
Many folks remember best the next part about the talking donkey who saved Balaam’s life when the angel of the LORD blocks their way as they leave for Moab.
22:31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
32 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
Balaam Sorry, But Unrepentant
It is often that many people caught in their sins will not truly repent. Will they offer a simple apology because they offended someone, or are they sorry that their sins were discovered, and would they even cease from their sins? This is what Balaam said:
34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.
35 And the angel of the Lord said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
In essence Balaam may have meant, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t know you disapproved of what I was doing. If it makes you unhappy, I’ll go back home.”
But Balaam really wanted to go to King Balak, so God gave him permission to proceed on his way to Moab on the condition that he spoke only the words from God (20:35). So Balaam gets his way and when he meets Balak, he has the king make sacrifices to God three different times while Balaam waited for God each time to give him words to speak to Balak.
King Balak Realized He Was Strung Along and Deceived by Balaam.
To Balak’s dismay after each sacrifice Balaam spoke parables and prophecies of blessings for Israel and what would become of the surrounding nations, including Moab. (Numbers 23 and 24)
Balak had expected that when Balaam finally came, it was to curse Israel.
23:11 And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether.
23:25 And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.
24:10 And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.
24:11 Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the Lord hath kept thee back from honour.
So Balaam did not get the earthly rewards and honor he sought. However, Balaam was used by God to fulfill God’s purpose, which was to speak blessings, and not curses upon Israel.
In the book of Numbers chapters 23 and 24, Balaam gave a total of 7 prophecies from the birth of Jesus to the role of Israel in world events of the latter days regarding the Middle East, the tribulation and battle of Armageddon and Millennium. He gave many specific prophecies about the nation of Israel. He started out as a Star Prophet of God, but became a compromising backslider.
Balaam is an example of a man who was highly favored and used by God, but fell from his place of respect through sin and rebellion. In Nu 31:8 the Bible says that when Israel warred against the Midianites, Balaam was among those who were slain. At the time of his death Baalam was no longer a prophet of God, but a soothsayer, fortune teller, or diviner who prophesied for gain. (Joshua 13:22)
REMINDERS FROM JESUS:
“Take heed lest any man deceive you. . .” (Mark 13:5)
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev 3:11)
ISRAEL- A BLESSED NATION
Israel is in the forefront of Bible prophecy today and has a major role in end times events. God’s Word is very clear about blessing Israel.
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed’. (Gen 12:3; 27:29)
“Blessed is he that blesseth (Israel), and cursed is he that curseth thee.” ( Num 24:9)
Thus, we learn from the story of Balaam, that God will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who will curse her, and more importantly, that we should not compromise God’s Word, by our deeds or by our words.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD’S WORD
This is what the Bible says about God’s Word. Moses spoke to his people:
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you’ (Deut 4:2)
“Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.” (Deut 4:40)
King David wrote “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” (Ps119:89)
About ShofarRetired Teacher/Administrator, Christian missionary. Enjoy playing ukulele and guitar, oil painting, swimming and snorkeling, travel photography. Author of 'Sounding the Shofar-Exhortations for the End Times' eBook published Jan. 2012 available at Amazon.com or find it in Side Bar 'From Journal and Shofar eBook.'
Posted on April 13, 2014, in Hearing From God And His Word, Teachings and Exhortations and tagged Balaam the prophet of God, Balaam's donkey smart and not dumb!, Compromising God's Word, Dealing with temptation, God hates compromise, Going against God's will, Israel to be blessed and not cursed, Provoking God to anger, Self willed and stubborn, The backsliding of a believer, The importance of obeying God, The lure of riches and honor, The lusts of the flesh and eyes and pride of life, Yielding to temptation. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.