Summary: Balaam was a man who followed the letter of the law of God, but violated the spirit of that law. Balaam is universally condemned in the New testament. Many times we find ourselves acting like Balaam. We hold to the letter of God’s law but at the same ti
Some years ago scientists learned how to graft certain kinds of insects together early in their development. Naturally, this kind of experimentation produced some exceedingly hideous monstrosities. One in particular was the result of grafting a spider and a butterfly together. This creature sought to live in the light and in the darkness at the same time. It would try to fly and crawl in the same moment. It would seek to feast on the fragrance of the flowers as well as the loathsome bodies of dead flies.
Sometimes, as we look at men, we find strange and almost contradictory characteristics united in the same person...a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde personality. In the book of Numbers we have the story of such a person. His name was Balaam.
In Numbers 23:10, Balaam prayed that he might “...die the death of the upright.” But in the New Testament, Balaam is described by Peter (II Pet. 2:15-16) as a man who “...loved the wages of unrighteousness.”
In Numbers 24:17-19, Balaam prophesies of the coming of Jesus. In Numbers 25:1-3 the nation of Israel “plays the harlot” with the daughters of Moab. In Numbers 31:16 we are told that Moab’s invitation to Israel was at the “counsel of Balaam.
Balaam was a poet-preacher who lived at the time Israel completed the wilderness wanderings of forty years. Approaching the promised land along its eastern border, the Israelites had overcome the Amorites and had annihilated Bashan. Balak, king of Moab was terrified. He sent for Balaam, son of Beor, to tell him how to defeat the Israelites. Balaam is asked to curse the Israelites (Num. 22:2-6). Three times he spoke, three times God caused him to bless Israel. In anger, Balak dismissed him. Evidently, before leaving Moab, Balaam redeemed himself in the eyes of his employer. The Bible says he instructed Balak hoe to seduce the nation of Israel, inviting the Hebrew men to a feast in the honor of Baal. There they were confronted with Moabite women who involved them in the adulterous activities associated with Baal worship. Thus through the art of seduction, Balaam was able to accomplish what he could not accomplish by pronouncing a curse. Having looked at the story of Balaam, let us look at his character.
I. Balaam was willing to tamper with his own conscience.
A. Started off right.
1. First approach by Moab. (Numbers 22:2-6)
2. Balaam seeks and follows God’s guidance. (Numbers 22:7-14)
B. Begins to waiver.
1 Second approach by Moab. (Numbers 22:15-17)
2. Balaam again seeks God’s guidance. (Numbers 22:18-20)
This second inquiry was to seeks God’s permission to do something God had already forbidden him to do. Balaam knew He ought not disobey God but at the same time, he wanted to go. Motivation...MONEY. (Numbers 22:7, 17)
3. God gives Balaam permission to go. (Numbers 22:20)
4. But when Balaam goes, God is angry with him.
II. Balaam refuses to regard obstacles God puts in his way.
A. Balaam, his donkey, and the angel of God. (Numbers 22:21-33)
B. Balaam admits to sinning. (Numbers 22:34)
III. Balaam keeps a rule and sacrifices a principal.
A. God’s rule...Go but speak only My words. (Numbers 22:20, 35)
B. Balaam communicates God’s rule to Balak. (Numbers 22:38)
C. God enforces His rule three times.
(Numbers 23:7-10; 18-24; 24:3-9)
D. Balak sends Balaam home. (Numbers 24:10-25)
E. Balaam apparently tells Balak how to defeat Israel through seduction.
(Numbers 25:1-3; 31:16)
F. Balaam died with the Midianites. (Numbers 31:8)
Balaam was a man who followed the letter of the law of God, but violated the spirit of that law. Balaam is universally condemned in the New testament. II Pet. 2:12-15; Rev. 2:14.
How many times do we find ourselves acting like Balaam. We hold to the letter of God’s law but at the same time sell out the great principles of love, mercy, faith, justice and purity.