Sunday Rest and Reflection–Baalam
Greetings! Today is another day of rest and reflection about what God has been saying to us. Have you enjoyed Numbers? What have you learned about Jesus Christ through this book? Do you sense God speaking to you about Christ as you read the stories about Moses and the people of God as they learn to walk with God in their midst?
A story I did not write on comes to mind today. It’s the story of Balaam. Balaam was a prophet for hire who was hired by Balak, King of the Moabites. Balak was afraid of the Israelites and had heard the reports of how they had completely destroyed Sihon and Og, two other kings that opposed them. God had given them this victory and led them in this conquest. Balak was trying to get advantage the only way he knew how. He sent a delegation to hire Balaam to come and curse the Israelites. Balaam, to his credit, sought God as to what he should do. God told him not to go and not to curse Israel. (Numbers 22:12)
A short time later, Balak sent more distinguished men and more money to try and entice Balaam to come and curse the Israelites. Balaam was tempted, but he sought God again on this matter. Money and men have a way of clouding God’s instructions. God told him to go, but do only what He instructed him. This led to the incident where Balaam’s donkey talked to him and warned him about the Angel of the Lord who was waiting on the way to kill him! God’s mercy and justice are evident here in this tension.
Balaam goes to curse the Israelites and as he stands to act, a spirit of prophesy comes on him. Each time, he blesses God’s people instead. These blessings speak of Jesus Christ and God’s desire to bless his people. Numbers 23:6-10 records the first blessing and verses 18-24 the second blessing. God has blessed his people, who can curse them? When God speaks a promise, no one can change it by sorcery! (Numbers 23:20,23)
The final prophesy of Balaam is recorded in Numbers 25: 14-24. In this prophesy, Balaam warns Balak of what the Israelites would do to his people in the days to come. He sees a vision of the Almighty. This vision is of a star coming out of Jacob and a scepter out of Israel. It was not now and not near, but would surely come. He would crush the head of Moab and conquer Edom. This ruler is Jesus Christ, the star out of Jacob and the one who holds the ruler’s septer! Jesus would crush the head of the serpent as prophesied in Genesis 3:15!
The tradgedy of Balaam is what he did later. He evidently figured out a way to help out Balak. He told them to send in the women and seduce the Israelites and get them into idolatry. That would bring a curse from God on the Israelites as a consequence of their own sins. (Numbers 31:15-16) Balaam was a false prophet who met a tragic end! (Numbers 31:8) We must be on our guard! Our enemy Satan is always trying to seduce us! (Revelation 2:14-16)