Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sovereignty of God From the Mouth of a Compromiser: Balaam

Near the beginning of the Conquest, Balak, the king of Moab, hired Balaam, an Israelite prophet of shady
character, to curse Israel, in the hope that their advance into Canaan would be undermined by occult forces. Balaam is a bizarre biblical character, because, though his faith was syncretistic, and he was content to sell his gift to anyone with some gold, yet God truly spoke to him, and gave him true messages.

The story is told by Moses in Numbers, chapters 22 through 24.

However, it is on Numbers 24:1 that I want to focus: "When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness."

This is an amazing thing to see in the story of a wicked, greedy, spiritually-compromised. fallen, man of God. While he had been perfectly content to sell out his own nation, when Balaam saw that Jehovah, the God of Israel, would not cooperate, he stopped. Where he had been accustomed to using magical charms in an
effort to coerce God to his purposes, this time he forbore, accepted the judgment of God, and abandoned his heathen benefactors.

The reason I bring this up is the contrasting attitude I see too often today. the Prosperity Gospel peddlers have taught most American evangelicals that God is a heavenly Santa Claus (it is Christmas Eve as I type this), who must grant whatever materialistic demand we present to Him. Yet, this admitted half-heathen traitor to his own people has more sense: when God refuses to give him his wish, he puts aside his incantations and charms and walks away. If only the Prosperity heretics showed as much sense as they do their baptized heathenry!

In Balaam's own words (Num. 24:13): "If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak." No doubt that is the one thing that kept Jehovah speaking to him.

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