We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Numbers 22:5-6 which reads: “Balak sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.”
Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:
Though the narrative itself has considerable literary charm, the Balaam incident must also be viewed within the context of God’s covenant relationship with His people. In the vivid portrayal of divine opposition to those who curse His people, God’s faithfulness to the covenant promises made to Abraham is demonstrated. Ironically, the Lord also used the pagan prophet Balaam, who had been hired by the Moabite king to curse God’s people, to bless them instead, and to prophesy the coming of a royal Star out of Jacob—the Messiah Himself—who would triumph over Israel’s enemies.
Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from Martin Luther. He said: “Scripture is the manger in which the Christ lies. As a mother goes to a cradle to find her baby so the Christian goes to the Bible to find Jesus. Don’t let us inspect the cradle and forget to worship the baby.”
Our topic for today is titled “Just Looking for a Home (Part 9)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.
— Balak and Balaam
Israel was now camped on the plains of Moab, directly across the Jordan River from Jericho. This development appears to have put Balak, a Moabite king, in a precarious situation. Israel had conquered and eradicated two powerful city-states (or nations) on his northern flank. Although the Israelites had no intention of moving south, Balak did not know that, and he feared for his own security. He took two steps to resolve the issue. The first was to establish a military alliance with the Midianites, who lived further east. The second was to secure spiritual help. He and his allies sent messengers north to a town named Pethor, near the Euphrates River; they were to summon Balaam, a man who had a reputation for being able to curse or bless and who seemed to have some type of relationship with YHWH. Although God did not desire Balaam to go, Balaam kept arguing. So God allowed him to do what he wanted (instead of making him do what he knew he should). To reinforce His warning message, God spoke to Balaam through his donkey en route.
When Balaam arrived in the Transjordan, Balak took him up on a mountain to look over the plains. He explained the situation and asked for Balaam’s curse on these people he feared. After going through the mandated ritual, Balaam gave his prophetic declaration—an announcement that Israel was blessed by God and could not be cursed. After hearing four such declarations, Balak fired his prophet, and the text here suggests that Balaam went on his way. This, however, was not the end of the matter. Apparently Balaam gave his former employer some advice before he left: you cannot fight them, but you can seduce them.
With this, the Moabites invited the Israelites to partake in their worship of Baal (a fertility god). Their rituals involved meals and sacred prostitution. Some of the Israelites succumbed. One Israelite even brought a Midianite woman to his tent in front of the people who were weeping before the tent of meeting. In response to this brazen act, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the high priest, took a spear, followed them, and ran it through the embraced pair within the tent. God judged the people for their disobedience by sending a plague. Overall, about 24,000 people died.
God then told Moses that the Israelites were to attack the deceitful Moabites. Later, as he recounted this part of the conquest, Joshua observed that one of the casualties of this conflict was Balaam the son of Beor.
Following this battle, the nation of Israel began to focus on entering the land God had promised. This entire section would serve to remind the generation entering Canaan
remind the generation entering Canaan how God had both taken care of their predecessors and tried to purify them. As later observers, we note how the people continually failed to live up to God’s standards, yet He faithfully worked with them to take them one step further. We also notice that some claimed God’s name yet worked for their own agendas and selfish ambitions. Interestingly, God used them as well to advance His own goals, which would be for the good of all humankind—all the families of the earth.
The exact nature of Balaam’s relationship with YHWH is debated. Joshua 13:22 describes him as a diviner. Yet in Numbers we see him giving a prophetic declaration that apparently comes directly from YHWH. Furthermore, when he was invited down to Moab, Balaam’s first response was to tell the messengers that he needed to inquire of YHWH (and this name is used rather than the more generic “God”). Then, when he finally persuaded God to allow him to go, God sent an angel (the angel of YHWH) to meet him and his donkey. This all seems to suggest that Balaam had a special relationship with God, but he abused his position, which led to his death.
Let’s Pray —
Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.
All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.
Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.