. And he went to an high place. And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. And he returned unto him … And he took up his parable, and said,
Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram,out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!(Numbers 23:1-11)
Finally the delegation came from the Euphrates. Balaam had agreed to come with them to see how he could be of service to King Balak. Certainly the LORD had already forbade him to go with them once, but upon praying a second time, had he not given Balaam permission? Perhaps the LORD, the God of this people would also relent on the other prohibition; not to curse Israel.
Balaam had done his homework. He knew that Israel’s deity required burnt sacrifices, of rams and bullocks, and that he favored the number seven.
And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; … And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the Lord will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee…
The Pagan prophet then set out to do what he perceived his craft required, he went to a high place to seek for auguries, signs and portents about what the intention of this God was for this people. Perhaps he would see a sign or be put into a trance, or have a vision.Who could know how long it would take? The various national gods could be capricious.
But he must have been stunned when immediately he was met by the LORD himself, and given the Word to speak to Balak concerning the bleak prospects of successfully cursing Israel.
How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I defy whom God has not defied?
It would be the height of arrogance for any frail human being to dare pronounce a curse on anyone, let alone anyone whom God has not cursed. Can Israel be withstood successfully? How ? If God is with them who could possibly stand against them?
For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
Who are these people? This recently redeemed slave nation? What are they doing wandering in the harsh desert ? How are they sustained? As Balaam looked down on this strange spectacle, of a huge camp, surrounding a tremendous pillar of cloud, The Word of the Lord revealed that this is a unique people, “Behold the people shall dwell alone… “.
This is a nation unlike any other, and never able to completely integrate into the “community of nations”. There can be a RED CROSS and even a RED CRESCENT, but there will never be a RED MOGEN DAVID, because Israel is not allowed to.
Every nation gets a vote in the U.N.. but Israel, all can serve on the security council but she. Every nation on earth picks where it’s capital city shall be, and the rest of the world observes it, but in the case of Israel, not so. Every American president since Eisenhower has promised to move our embassy to Jerusalem, only to fail to do so.
Israel shall not reckoned among the nations, because by God’s election, she is unique. Balaam saw this and prophesied of it.
Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?
There will be no obliteration of this nation, she will one day number as the dust, or as “the sands of the sea…” according to the Word given to Abraham, (Father of a multitude).
Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!
Curse them? Are you kidding? If I (Balaam) could but die the death of this people I would consider myself fortunate! To be able to die knowing you have been made right with God? This is worth more than all of the treasures and honors paganism could ever confer.
This is the first prophecy of Balaam over Israel. The pagan prophet opened his mouth thinking perhaps he could curse them, (after all the LORD had relented about going with them hadn’t he?). But instead Balaam could only bless them, and in the highest terms, by the Spirit of prophecy.
Needless to say this infuriated the pagan King. What good is a prophet, if he doesn’t say what you want him to say? What good is a “god” if he can’t be manipulated and used for your own ends?
Like the many who follow the false prophets in our day, both Balaam and Balak held to a pagan notion of God. “God” exists for man. It is for man to learn the ways of “God” so that he might harness this power to use for the good of all. I once saw a million selling “christian book” called “God’s Creative Power Can Work For You!”. This is not christian, but Pagan.
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. And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth?
Balaam however, had already seen something of the power, majesty and sovereignty of this God, and knew, that he could only say what this God wanted him to say. The ASS incident had taught him that this was a God to be afraid of.
But who knows, maybe we can make” it work” from another mountain?