Wednesday, June 27, 2012

He Finally Yielded

Numbers 24:1-25

Finally convinced that God was not going to change his mind and let him have Balak’s rewards, Balaam didn’t waste the time trying to get God to change his mind although he still asked Balaam to build altars and offer sacrifices.

"And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.  And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. 

And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! 

As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.  He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. 

God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.  He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” (Numbers 24:1-8)

Rather than trying to get the message Balaam wanted, Balaam  let God speak through him this time.  He gives a prophecy about what God will do Israel, that they wil have a king more powerful than the Agag, the title of the Amalekite king who was at that thime the most powerful of the local kings.  He reviewed how it was God who would cause this and no earthly power could successfully prevent it.  Please note the pride that seeps in stressing Balaam's knowledge and understanding.  He is still focused on promoting himself.

“And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.  Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the LORD hath kept thee back from honour.” (Numbers 24:10-11) 

Baslak got mad this time and ordered Balaam leave if he wanted to survive because he hadn’t done what he wanted.  Because he obeyed God instead of Balak, he was going to miss out on the honor he could have had.

II Peter  2:15 warns against following following “the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.”  Early in our marriage, my wife made it clear that if I didn’t satisfy her, she was going to divorce me.  I spent a number of years trying to make her happy, even when I knew my actions were not what God wanted me to do.  Finally it reached a point where I could no longer convince myself that pleasing her was worth continuing to disobey God and she left me.  Looking back, I realize that had I not put her demands ahead of God‘s, she might never have become so determined to have her own way.  Like Balaam, the effort to balance both sides resulted not only in the loss of what I was trying to get, but  the loss of her respect and of several years of ministry.  It eventually cost Balaam his life.  How much better to have simply committed to God from the first.

“And Balaam said unto Balak, Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me, saying, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak?  And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.” (Numbers 24:12-14)

Finally, Balaam made a full commitment that he would serve God, and stop trying to please Balak.  Before he left he was obligated to warn Balak of the consequences of his sin and that of his people.  It didn’t make Balak any happier.

“And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.  Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” (Numbers 24:15-19)

Balaam’s prophecy concerning Moab and Balak had partial fulfillment under various kings and Judges, but will be fully fulfilled whit Christ when he establishes his earthly kingdom.  It was given about seventeen hundred years before Christ was born.  The prophecy included several other nations which opposed Israel as well as the Moabites.   The domination of the Assyrian Empire and its defeat by the Medo-Persian Empire are foretold.

“And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.  And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.  Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive. 

And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!  And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.  And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.” (Numbers 24:20-25)

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