The prophecies of Balaam.

We are not to be isolated but insulated, moving in the midst of evil but untouched by it. Separation is contact without contamination. Jesus was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26), yet He was “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” … More

Separation

Israel’s greatest temptation was in wanting to be like the other nations, and this is what led to their downfall and captivity. Unfortunately, many in the church today have the same mistaken idea that being like the world is the way to reach the world. Instead of maintaining separation (II Cor. 6:14-15) they promote imitation (I John 2:15-17), so that it is becoming more difficult to distinguish the people of God from the people of the world.

The number seven was sacred among many of the nations and religions at this time (v. 1). Balak is still determined to get Balaam to bring the curse of God on Israel. Next we find him taking Balaam to Bamoth Baal (“the high places of Baal”) where they could see the camp of Israel and offer more sacrifices to Baal. Balaam used these sacrifices as part of his sorcery and soothsaying (24:1) and didn’t wait for God’s promised message as instructed. However in His grace and goodness, God used this evil man and endured his foolishness because He had a special message to declare about His people Israel. God had especially blessed the people of Israel and they could not be cursed (vv. 7-8). They also were chosen by God and therefore were as a nation set apart from the other nations (v. 9).

To encourage Balaam to do what he was hired to do (curse Israel) Balak decided to give him a new perspective (vv. 13-26). He took him to the top of Mount Pisgah where again they offered sacrifices to their gods (vv. 13-14). The very fact that Balaam participated in these pagan rituals shows the wickedness of his heart. He spoke the Word of God and longed for a righteous death, yet he thought nothing of using enchantments and Satan worship (24:1). He was a double minded man whose chief desire was to make as much money as possible by marketing his skills.

Application

Balak took Balaam to several places thinking a change of scenery might help bring about a change of mind. But changing locations won’t change God’s Will. I must learn to face the source of my problems. Moving to escape problems will only make solving them more difficult. A change of location or job may only distract me from the need of a changed heart.

Numbers 23:1-30 (English Standard Version)


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