…Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 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;(2 Peter 2:14-15)
And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak. And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as theLord shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam. And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, 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. And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.( Numbers 22:7-12)
We have been saying that the story from the book of Numbers has an amazing relevance for our situation today, as do all of the Bible stories. This account is far more than a moralistic anecdote, rather it is a true history of God’s dealings with His chosen people Israel, and the nations around her.
We also maintain that this story is prophecy. It has to do with what will happen again,(and is happening) in the time of the end, in the days when the LORD will fulfill all of His promises to resurrect and restore Israel to her prophesied glory.
Once again, Israel is being restored back to the land God gave Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.
And once again the nations of the world, especially the Arab neighbors of Israel are agitated, perplexed and frightened. The return of Israel to her land after nearly two thousand years of exile, is considered a miracle by Christians and Jews, but to the Arab/Muslim world, May 14, 1948 is called “al Naqba”, the catastrophe. Balak also considered the Exodus of Israel into the land, a catastrophe.
Furthermore we have another startling parallel to our own day, for once again powerful Arabs are seeking to use wealth to entice people to curse Israel.
The Saudi’s alone have spent millions of dollars to endow departments at major universities, such as Harvard and Georgetown, they have bought into news and publishing concerns as well. they have purchased the services of lobbyists and politicians, and perhaps most scandalously, they have influenced mainstream churches, all towards the same end, they would disenfranchise, disqualify, and delegitimize Israel in world opinion.
We now come to another aspect of the modern relevance of Balaam, that of the danger of false prophets.
Balaam wasn’t a Hebrew prophet, He was a Kasem, a pagan seer, one who dealt in the negotiation of national gods. He knew the lore , the demands of the deities, the sacrifices, the controlling phrases, the secret names and pronouncements, and was renowned as one who could flip the allegiances of national gods. Perhaps he could negotiate on Balak’s behalf, with the LORD of Israel. For a hefty fee, of course.
But When Balaam prayed to the God of Israel, the LORD spoke to him!
He told Balaam three things very clearly, two commands, and one clear fact,
*You shall not go with this people.
*You shall not curse Israel.
* I have blessed them.
But in the morning, Balaam told only one of these three Words from the LORD to the waiting delegation of Arabs. He heard God indeed but held back two very important aspects of God’s Word from them, and the one word he did tell them, was put in such a way as to indicate that Balaam himself wished it wasn’t so.
He only told them that “the LORD refuses to allow me to go with you”.
Why didn’t he tell them the truth that He knew came from the LORD? He held back because he wanted to leave the door open for more negotiation, perhaps he could keep the Arabs ‘on the string’, to ‘up the price’ while he worked on negotiations with the LORD himself.
We have such a plague today in the church and in Judaism as well. People who have heard from God at one time or other but for their own reasons they hold back the full truth of what they know.they believe that as ‘middle men’ they can profit in some way or other by holding back or altering revealed Truth.
Many mainline denominational leaders know that the Word of God specifically says that Israel is chosen, but to please the World Spirit, which is currently sympathetic with the “Palestinian cause’ they acquiesce to divestment movements, denominational condemnations, and take sides against the only real democracy and civilized country in the middle east. False Prophets!
There are other areas where this plague is rife, such as preachers who won’t condemn homosexuality, ecumenism, or warn of Hell, and the wrath of God. They know it is there in the Word, but it would hurt them personally to get real about it, so like Balaam, they hold back.
I have heard of Rabbi’s who curse those who study the book of Daniel 9, because they know that Daniel prophesied the timing of the Messiah, and that he would have had to have come between 30AD and the time of the destruction of the temple in 70AD. Why would servants of the word of God do this? Because they are really servants of themselves and see God’s word as a means to their own end.
Balaam is alive and well.
He knew but held back the two most important parts of the message. He should have told these Arabs, that the LORD said, ” YOU shall not curse Israel” and also that “God has blessed them”. In effect He, like so many modern “clergy”, christian and Jewish alike, was trying to downplay or deny by omission, Genesis 12:3, the real meaning of this story.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 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” (Genesis 12:2-3)