Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Chapters 23 & 24 — In some of the biblical commentaries I have read I have seen Balaam called “The Angelic Devil.” THINK about that for a minute. Scripture is very clear that we are ALL in a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Our REAL enemy is not anyone we can see. People often ask me if I believe in satan. My response is always … The WORD tells me he is alive and fighting for all he is worth to remain in control … but I BELIEVE in Jesus Christ and Jesus died to save me, to fight for me, to give me abundant life, and eternal life ….. plus I’ve read the end of the book and KNOW who wins.
Why am I pointing this out now? Because God did, can, and will use and do whatever it takes to save HIS people. God is using Balaam, a sorcerer, whose heart (we will eventually read) delights in money and earthly things. Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 tell us “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” God KNEW that the Moabites wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites. HE KNEW the Moabites would listen to him. Therefore, God is going to use the very thing the Moabites will listen to …. To save HIS people. Well… right now…. Balaam is walking the walk and talking the talk. I am sure once you witness your donkey talking to you (which by the way the Word did not mention Balaam was surprised with the conversation) AND you witness a huge warrior angel standing before you…. Chances are you are going to do the right things by the Lord. But we must remember as we read all this that God is using him for the good of the Israelites. HOW long will we witness Balaam doing the right things? How long before we see where his heart really is?
Chapter 23:19 says that God is not human, that HE should lie, not a human that HE should change HIS mind. Does HE speak and not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? — POWERFUL words!!! God and Balaam and Balak are having this entire little scenario happening … all to protect the Israelites. However, it does not mention that the Israelites were aware of all that was going on. Just think about how many times God is working on our behalf behind the scenes and we have no clue. YET.. HE is doing it to work all things out for our good for those who love HIM. WHEW!!! Verse 23 says: “It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, “See what God has done?” WHO is the focus on in this verse??? GOD!!! Israel did not work to do it!! Jacob did not do it!! GOD was working it all out for HIS children … and HE STILL DOES. The irony of irony is that usually we do not know all God is working out on our behalf…. FOR HIS GLORY… SEE WHAT GOD HAS DONE!!!
An oracle is a divine communication or revelation (The Lord put the words directly into his mouth). So God used Balaam’s mouth to speak. God told Balaam exactly what to say and he said it. The first three times Balaam blesses Israel with increasing anger from Balak (Moab King).
”May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed”.
The fourth oracle was the big one :
17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.
Do you see this is a prophecy of the Messiah Jesus?
Chapter 25– THIS IS the whole NEW generation of Israelites who are NOW living among their neighbors. And their neighbors are NOT holy people. So once again who we hang with or near has a huge influence on us. We will later read in chapter 31 that bringing Moabite women into camp was advice from Balaam the sorcerer. He WILL be put to death for his advice!! In the meantime….. the Israelites are NOT helped by his advice. The Israelite men were INVITED to the camp to have sex with Moabite women to HONOR the moabite god. Verse 3 states: “So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. They yoked themselves!!! NO ONE ELSE MADE THE CHOICE FOR THEM!!! AND THE LORD’S ANGER BURNED AGAINST THEM.” 2 Corinthians 6:14 – tells us “do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? “ Remember that the Moabites were descendants of Lot (Moab was his son with his eldest daughter… ick… but true!!). They are pagan and worship many gods too.
Baal of Peor was a god that should not have been worshiped BY ANY ONE BUT ESPECIALLY BY GOD’S PEOPLE. Remember the 1st Commandment??? — YOU shall have NO other gods BEFORE ME. GUESS what they were doing??? YEP you got it… worshiping another god!! God showed his power over ALL the false gods in Egypt with the plagues. Baal of Peor was the fertility false god of the Canaanites, so even the sex they were having was worship to a false god. Did you notice that the Israelites had become desensitized to their God by their physical cravings?
The Israelites are SURROUNDED by pagan worshipers … are you seeing why God wanted them to be separate??
An Israelite man in verse 6 “brought into the camp a Midianite woman RIGHT BEFORE THEWHOLE ASSEMBLY OF ISRAEL WHILE THEY WERE WEEPING AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE TENT OF MEETING.” Do you recall that Moses’ married a Midianite and his father-in-law Jethro came to believe in the LORD. The Midianites, although descendants of Abraham by the wife of his second marriage, are Arabs and worshiped pagan gods. This is a perfect example of rebellion, disrespect, allowing their sexual desires to control them, and disobedience to God. Bless Phinehas, son of Eleazar, grandson of Aaron ….. because he saw the sin, followed the Israelite in the tent, drove his spear into BOTH the Israelite and the Midianite woman. Phinehas’ actions STOPPED the plague against the Israelites, BUT…. Those who died in the plague numbered 24,000!!! Phinehas’ actions turned away God’s anger from most of the Israelites. Once again.. we see that CHOICES have CONSEQUENCES!! Their BAD choices had deadly consequences. Phinehas was a priest with a zeal for the Lord. The Lord’s judgment was swiftly put on all the people in the form of a plague. In order to HONOR God, as a priest, Phinehas made a blood sacrifice… an “atonement for their sin”. BLOOD is the ONLY atonement. Which is why Jesus Christ shed HIS blood for us…. To not only cover our sins… but make us clean.. white as snow… forgiven sins never to be remembered again. JESUS is our HIGH Priest NOW!!
There is a song called “Jesus, friend of sinners” by Casting crowns. There is a line in the song that says something like “break our hearts for what breaks yours.” If you have a chance to listen to the song… listen for these words. WHAT IF … we were so sensitive to what God desires for us that our hearts would break at the thought of sinning thus stopping us. Where our heart is… there also is our treasure!! ONLY God can change our hearts and ONLY WE can make the decision to allow HIM to change us. Where is your heart?
Sharing HIS love,