Balaam

I did a study recently on Balaam, taken from Numbers chapters 22-24.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

There are 4 major players in this drama.
God
Israel
Balak, king of Moab,
Balaam.
……….with supporting roles from an angel, several sundry politicians and noblemen, and one talking donkey named Shoeshine.

God.…Sovereign. His purposes regarding Israel would be accomplished: no outside interference would be tolerated, interestingly though,as we read through toward the end of the drama, we see that it is….

Israel …..herself that interferes with the purposes of God, yet in the beginning, she is not even aware of the drama that is taking place in the hills around her. (Is this not so much like us? There is a warfare going on about us all the time, yet unseen. Evil angels and true faithful angels to God are constantly at work in our lives for good or evil. Unseen for the most part, yet their influence in our lives is ever present. And while we are faithful ourselves to God’s commandments and our wills are surrendered to His will, nothing can stand in our way. But the moment we turn away from the truth, and the path that God would have us to go. He leaves us to our own choices and only then does Satan find advantage over us.)

Balak….Understandably nervous. And so would you be if 3 million people set up camp in your neighborhood and used your letterbox as a boundary marker.

Balaam….A prophet of God once, yet not a part of Israel, which I find very interesting. Melchizadek, Job, and Jethro are other examples from scripture where we read of men of God, even priests, who stood for God in those days yet were not children of Abraham. God is gracious and will raise up anyone to fulfill His purpose to bring light and life to the world. For this purpose He raised Israel, yet He has not confined Himself to only Israel to achieve this. (If they kept silent, the very rocks would cry out….out of these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham); let us not be complacent because we belong to a certain church or we think to ourselves we are God’s only voice in the world. If we do not that which is required of us, God will pass over us and look to others to accomplish His purposes.
Balaam lived in Mesopotamia., a city called Aram, at least 400 miles east of where Israel were encamped. Balaam’s journey therefore was not an overnight express. So what was God doing through Balaam when he was a faithful prophet? How did Balak, a monarch living 400 miles or so away, know of Balaam? I think that whatever God had done through him when he was a faithful prophet, was something quite great, and Balaam established a reputation that had spread right through the Middle east. This reputation had been gained through an intimate relationship with God. He must have done some mighty works at some stage earlier in his career, to be reknowned as a prophet so far from home.

Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

So at some stage, Balaam was God’s man. But he backslid and apostacised, and began using his prophetic gift as a business. Yet God still loved him, still spoke to him, and still gave him opportunity for repentance. God allowed Balaam to get deeper and deeper into the mire in the hope that he would recognise his sin and return to his God. That is, until Balaam totally apostacised by joining Balak and counselling him on how to defeat Israel.

Revelation 2:14 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.

I believe the life and story of Balaam is a living parable of our day, a living prophecy paralleling Revelation 13. Balaam represents the apostate church of the last days, that joins with the state and becomes a false prophet, turning against the true people of God. The Christian church of today is not in complete sync with the will of God. In practice and in heart, the church of today is following the way of Balaam….

2 Peter 2:15 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;
Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! … and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward,…..

yet in grace God is still using the church to share the truth of the gospel. Certainly, in the midst of the truth are lies and false doctrine, yet what truth there is God is still graciously using to reach lost humanity. The time will come however when the church will join with the state, just as Balaam finally joined with Balak, as it says in…
Revelation 2:14 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.

Afetr Balaam joined with Balak wholly, there is no further evidence that God spoke to him. His time had come and God gave him over completely to his chosen course. OSAS? Never.
Note the parallels.
The state, just immediately before the church is to enter the promised land,
invites a world loving backsliding church, which although still professing to teach and preach truth,to join with the state to fight with the state in what is perceived as a common threat. (I can see this happening on any number of different fronts. Terrorism, global poverty, environmental concerns such as global warming.While these issues are important, they are not concerns with which the church is to join with the state to start political action. Doing so will immediately place the church in a position of compromise where she will inevitably have to take legislative and punitive action against her own people.) An example of this took place immediately after 9/11. President Bush spoke from a pulpit, saying to the church, that if she would not join with the state against the war on terrorism, then she was placing herself in a position of opposition to the state. Bush even quoted Jesus loosely saying “he who is not for us is against us.”

In the story in Numbers, God told Balaam that if the ambassadors came in the morning and asked again if Balaam would join with them, then he could go. They did not, Balaam joined with them anyway, and God was angry and sent His angel to stand in the way. And even then, after the angel warned Balaam that if the donkey hadn’t turned aside and saved his life, the angel would have slain Balaam. Yet Balaam is so determined in his pursuit of gain, admits to his sin and then unbelievably says “If I have displeased you I will go home.” The angel says he can go with the men…God knew what was in his heart and was allowing him to have his way. God will not work against our own wills. He does not force us to agree with Him, nor does He force or compel us to go where we do not first agree. That is why it is so important for the children of God to ensure their own wills are in conformity to God’s will, else we will surely stray and fall into sin and apostasy. Freedom is just so very very important to God, yet that very freedom can be our own downfall if we are not loving God with all our hearts.
The ambassadors left Balaam’s home early, believing Balaam was going to refuse their request…there you have the state separating itself from the church. The US constitution guarantees separation of church and state.
Interestingly it is the church that is claiming the constitution to be outdated or founded on false premises. It is the church that is flat out lobbying the senate and congress and bemoaning the various principles of that document. Just as Balaam chased after the state, so also is the church doing so today. The greater the social breakdown, the less spiritual influence the church perceives she has, so she is now seeking influence through the legislative halls and through the state’s political representatives.

Later in the drama, Balaam finally turns completely against Israel. He counsels Balak on how to defeat Israel, and he does so by enticing Israel to turn toward foreign gods. In Revelation 13 the issue of the last days centers on worship. The stumbling block of the last days that the apostate church places before the true people of God will center on worship. And this is accomplished entirely through deception.

Rev.13:14-17 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

“All that dwell upon the earth” are deceived by “miracles’ (not every miracle is of God), into promoting an image to the beast, (a church/state union) which is given power (clearly a democratic decision) to enforce it’s own form of peculiar worship. Those who refuse are persecuted, first through the removal of liberties by way of buying and selling, (which today is entirely possible), and finally by way of a threat of death.

The final act in the drama however sees God have His way. Israel did enter the promised land, minus those who apostatized. And in Revelation 14 we read of the character of those who finally are set in contrast with those who apostasise.

Rev. 14:9-12 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

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