Balak Wants to Hire Balaam to Curse the Israelite
The Israelite came to the plains of Moab and set up their camps along the Jordan River. King Balak of Moab and his people were struck with fear when they saw that the Israelite were numerous. King Balak had heard how the Israelite attacked and defeated the Amorites.
Because of this, King Balak decided to hire Balaam to curse the Israelite. King Balak sent several elders of Moab to bring Balaam to Moab so that he can place a curse on the Israelite. The elders of Moab brought along the fee of divination as they set out for the home of Balaam. When they arrived, Balaam told them to spend the night at his house while he inquire God about the issue.
At night, God asked Balaam who are those men with him. Balaam replied that Balak sent those men to hire him to put a curse on the Israelite. God instructed Balaam not to go with them so Balaam did not return to Moab with them. When the officials returned to Moab, they reported to Balak that Balaam refused to come with them.
Balak made a second attempt to bring Balaam to put a curse on the Israelite. This time, Balak sent more numerous officials and more distinguished officials. Balak replied the messenger that even If they give him all the silver and gold in his palace, he could only do according to what God commands him. At night, God told Balaam to go with them.
Donkey Saved Balaam’s Life
Early the next morning, Balaam saddled his donkey along with his two servants to Moab. God was angr with Balaam. God was angry because Balaam did not wait for the Moabite officials to call him first to go. Instead, Balaam took the initiative to saddle the donkey to Moab by himself. In addition, Balaam also did not informed the Moabite officials that he will only say what God wants him to say. This shows that Balaam was greed for the reward that Balak would give him to put a curse on the Israelite.
The angel of the Lord stood in the road in opposition to Balaam but Balaam couldn’t see him as he was invisible. However, God opened the eyes of the donkey and it saw the angel standing in the road holding a sword in his hand. When the donkey saw this, it turned into a field. This made Balaam beat the donkey to get it back to the road.
For the second time, the angel stood in a narrow path through the vineyards between two walls. When the donkey saw the angel, it got very near to the wall that Balaam’s foot scraped against it. This made Balaam beat the donkey again.
For the third time, the angel stood in a narrow place where there is no more room to turn so the donkey just lay down. This made Balaam beat the donkey for the third time. After that, God opened the donkey’s mouth and it spoke. The donkey asked Balaam why did he beat him. Balaam replied it had made a fool of him. The donkey replied it never has the habit of doing so.
Finally, God opened Balaam’s eyes so that he saw the angel of the Lord in th road. Balaam apologized and he will go back if he is displeased. The angel gave Balaam permission to go to Moab on condition that he speak only what God tell him.
When Balaam arrived, he told Balak that he can only say what God tell him to say. Balak took Blaam to a high place where they could see the Israelite for 3 times. Each time, Balaam would instruct Balak to build 7 altars and sacrifice 7 bulls and rams. After that Balaam would inquire God. Balaam never curse the Israelite at all. Instead, he blessed them in all his 3 messages. This made Balak very angry and he did not reward Balaam in the end. The account of Balaam can be found in Numbers 22 – 24.
What Can We Learn from Balaam?
Balaam compromised with evil. He knew that God would opposed the messengers from Moab. Instead of telling the messengers to leave, he told them to stay at his home first while he inquire God for further revelation. Often, we don’t want to hear the correct explanation of God’s words but we want further revelation because we only want to hear what we want to hear. It is wrong to misinterpret God’s words to satisfy your own desires. We must completely submit and obey God by taking his words and commandments plainly.
Balaam knew God but he was not a follower. He only has a acknowledge of God from the stand point of a heathen. Actually, Balaam coveted the money of King Balak and would go to put a curse on the Israelite. Balaam had instructed Balak to offer sacrifices to God for 3 times in order to put a curse on the Israelite. However, God never let that happen and Balaam blessed the Israelite every time. Many of us would rebel against God to get our way in some points in our lives. We must completely submit to God and live holy lives for God.
Balaam’s sins brought evil upon himself. He did not receive any reward from King Balak. He was also killed when the Israelite launched a war against the Midianite (Numbers 31:8).
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV)
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV)
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 KJV)
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (Romans 2:8 KJV)
The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. (Proverbs 11:23 KJV)
And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, (Jeremiah 34:18 KJV)
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 22:31 KJV)
For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults. (2 Corinthians 12:20 KJV)
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 KJV)