The story of Balaam the Prophet is fascinating. Numbers 22 tells us he received an offer for work from Balak the king of the Moabites. All Balaam was required to do was to curse the Israelites in return for a fee, or anything else that he desired, and the king would grant it to him. What brought about this desperate plea for help? Well, the Israelites who were great in numbers at that time were camping close by the Moabites, and king Balak was unsettled. He knew that the Israelites had fought and defeated the Amorites and he was very afraid. Num 22:2
After seeking the Lord for instructions God told Balaam why He should not go with the king’s men in Num 22:12. Balaam did what was right and instructed the king’s men to return because permission was not granted for the assignment.
There was one problem. Balaam’s heart was not all together earnest, and it showed quickly in his next move, as King Balak sent more honorable men with more enticing promises to persuade Balaam. I like to say Balaam probably was meditating on the rewards of this job, contemplating a way to cash in on the huge rewards offered by the king. He said, “Not even if the king was giving me his house full of silver and gold.” But the truth is his action showed what was really in his heart; he was hoping the Lord would change His mind and give permission for Israel to be cursed. Why else would he have gone back to the Lord about the same issue? That evidence spoke against Balaam. He was no longer operating as a true prophet but as one who was seeking gain.
And so the Lord tested Balaam by giving him permission to go to King Balak, with the agreement that he Balaam, will speak only the word which the Lord spoke to him.
The scripture validates Balaam as a true Prophet. He sought the Lord, and the Lord responded. Even the king’s word support this truth in Num 22:6 who you curse is cursed, and who you bless is blessed; His declarations were successful, and his reputation spoke for itself. But somewhere along the line, Balaam’s heart was turned. Num24:1 also revealed that Balaam uses the way of sorcery. KJV says enchantment. Sorcery is used in reference to evil or deceptive practice. It is to seek after the assistance of evil spirit, a practice that was common in the culture of Egypt at that time. This time because of divine intervention, the prophetic gift in him was used for honor, not dishonor, to bless Israel, and to bring glory to God’s name.
There was a shift in Num 22:22. God’s anger was aroused against Balaam. He was tested and he failed because his focus was on the prize. Like so many of today’s prophets who have fallen into sin, the gift in them is real. And the Holy Spirit works through those gifts in them. But because the prophetic gift brings with it many blessings and opportunities to influence, prophets need discernment when accepting gifts and rewards. They also need to take their eyes off the benefits because that could become a snare that the enemy works through to pull them, if unaware, into sin.
James 1:14 tells us that temptations come when desires in us become full-grown leading to sin. There is a process, a period of time where you meditate before sinning. That process could be a few minutes, or years. Nevertheless, greed causes contamination. The Lord had to intervene not only for the sake of Israel but strangely also for the sake of Balaam. For He would have had to judge the prophet. He promises to curse those who curse Israel, and He honors His word. Gen 12:3, Jer 1:12
The Lord opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw an angel, who told him that his ways were PERVERSE before the Lord. Even if Balaam wasn’t aware of God’s heart towards Israel God told him. But he was so blinded by the material offerings, that It took Balaam two more visits before God to finally realize “that it pleases the Lord to bless Israel” Num 24-1. And so he submitted to the will of God and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him Num 24:2. Balaam was used this time for honor.
Isn’t Balaam just like a lot of us today? Seemingly righteous on the outside, but filthy on the inside. Secretly coveting after the riches of this world.But God is never fooled. He knows the true intent of the heart.
We must look closely at the fruit of the spirit a man Gal 5:23. If a man knows the truth yet goes before God for instruction, there is a war of good and evil raging on the inside. Sin lies at the door of that man Gen 4:7. God knows when you are being tempted. His word promise you can overcome any temptation. 1 Cor 10:13 tells us He has provided a way out. James 4:7 teaches us how to overcome temptations.
Every decision that is opposed to the truth of God’s word leads to compromise. His word never changes. One day He will separate the righteous. And declare to the unrighteous depart from Me. Even those that would have prophesied in His name. Mat 7:23
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sow, that shall he also reap.