We just read about Balaam and Balak in Numbers 22. Balak sent messengers and
money to get Balaam to come and curse Israel for him. The Lord saw the men at
Balaam's house and asked him about it. The Lord told Balaam not to go because He had
blessed Israel. Balaam told the princes, “I can't go; God won't let me.” Balak sent more
important people to bring Balaam back with promises of honor and anything he wanted.
Balaam asked the Lord again. God said to go, so Balaam went.
Numbers 22:22 states, “God's anger was kindled because Balaam went, and the
Angel of the Lord stood in the way as an adversary against him.” Now a few questions
and thoughts arose in my heart as I read this. Perhaps you've thought the same things.
One thought was that I hoped that I would avoid such a situation. Why did Balaam ask
the Lord again? Was he greedy of reward and honor? The New Testament speaks
disparagingly of Balaam. Second Peter said that Balaam loved the reward of
wickedness. Jude said that some ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward (they
abandoned themselves for the sake of gain).
Why did the Lord tell him to go the second time? I think when the Lord tells us
something, and we know His will concerning it but our hearts are contrary to what He
wants, sometimes He'll tell us to go ahead and have our own way. And so we think we
are happy because we have the Lord's permission. My, oh my, what a tangled web we
weave. We put ourselves in a place of confusion when God is not pleased with us.
Why was the Lord angry with Balaam? Balaam knew the Lord's will. He had a gift
from God, and he wanted God's permission to use this gift for his own gain. God told
him go, but was not at all happy with Balaam going. Balaam spoke the word of the Lord
and blessed Israel, but he also did a little sly business while he was at it. Revelations
says that he taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel to eat
things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication. God was not pleased with him.
He didn't fool God. He only fooled himself. Instead of being known for good, his name
is set in infamy. The children of Israel destroyed him with a sword.
God gives many people wonderful gifts, but this doesn't mean that they will follow
the will of the Lord in their lives. They may do mighty, wonderful works in His name,
but they do not necessarily know the Lord. Jesus himself said in Matthew 17, “Not
everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven, but he
that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils?
And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these
sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.”
God gives us His Holy Spirit so that we can mortify our flesh and be God's children
through His spirit: children who will follow after their Father in Heaven, children who
will delight to do their Father's will. The devil is not happy with this, so as he did with
Jesus, he will do with us. He will tempt us with the things of this world, with the trying
of God's word, and with riches, honor, and fame, and if we take the hook, we're sunk.
If we put our desires above what God wills, He will say, “Go ahead; have your own
way.” It may turn out just fine to the flesh and to the eyes, but in the spirit, we have lost
out. God desires that we be truthful with ourselves and with Him. He knows our
hearts. He hears our every thought, and He sees all our intentions.
Let us prepare our hearts to follow after Him, and do so. It is written, “Eye hath not
seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things God hath
prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9.)
The Lord told Abraham, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” The
things that God has for us far outweigh anything this world has to offer. Set your eyes
on Jesus and delight in Him.