THE ERROR OF BALAAM


“…As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”

BALAAM’S DONKEY

Num 22:21 KJV – “And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again. And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.”

 

This is from the account of Balaam, a man gifted of God , who agreed to misuse his gifts for personal gain. The story, as all things in the scriptures, is many faceted. It is, among other things, an allegorical warning about a gifted individual, riding the backs of others, for personal reward. A gift of God, in Christ, is for the benefit of the body. It is a warning to religious “leaders”. Often, the ones they “ride” have more sense and sight than they do, yet they persist in forcing the people down a ruinous path, ignoring the misgivings of the people, and driving them on to ruin. The Lord makes a difference, sparing the ridden, and drawing His sword against the rider.

 

The events did take place, and did involve a real donkey. So, another facet of the account, is the regard the Lord has for the life of an innocent animal. The ‘angel’, or ‘messenger’ of the Lord was ready to kill Balaam, and spare the life of the animal. This gives you insight into the Lord’s ‘ways’, His thinking. What did Abraham say? “Shall not the judge of ALL the earth do right?

 

Balaam and the animal both had eyes. Balaam and the animal both had a voice, that is, an inner voice, an inner dialog. We all have it. God ‘loosed’ the tongue of the animal, giving her the ability to voice her inner dialogue. God similarly ‘loosed’ Balaam’s vision, to perceive things that , unaided, he could not see, while curiously, the animal could see, without help. Everything the animal said, she said. It was not God speaking through her, as is commonly, and errantly taught by religious figures. I assure you, Balaam never beat God with a stick.

 

Jesus rode the foal of an ass , in a figure, into glory. He will not steer us where we should not go. He does not take us anywhere for personal gain. He does so for our sakes. He has chosen us to ride into kingship with Him. He is offering us, the reward of His journey. Curious…the animal Jesus rode, He said was tied up. He said to loose her, and bring her and her colt to Him. Our days of service to religious taskmasters, end in Him.

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The error of Balaam is further expounded in the Book of Jude, and the Book of Revelation.

The Book of Jude is written to a particular people, as is the Book of Revelation. They are not meaningful to the nations at large:

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ….”

Jude speaks to the saved by way of warning. He goes on to expose and define individuals who HAVE CHOSEN a path, a path which was told of old, and which many throughout history have chosen for themselves.

“…But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever….”

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw….”

One thing which John saw, is one like unto the Son of man, walking in the midst of the assemblies, bearing witness. The witness is of that which is good and acceptable, and that which is bad and in need of abandoning. By this witness, the Holy Spirit speaks in the assemblies, among the host of of other voices (which do not belong there). To the assembly described by “Pergamos”, he says:

“…These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate…”

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It is the doctrine (teaching) of Balaam that is of particular note. For in the account, one can see two Israel’s…a natural and a spiritual; a shadow and a real. Balaam, a gifted man, somewhere in his life, chose a ruinous path. He went from being a man of integrity, to a man for hire. (as Jesus said, “the hireling cares not for the sheep…). Balaam was hired to curse Israel for Balak, king of Moab. The account is found in Number 22. And Balaam did his best, three times, but in the effort, Balaam saw someone “afar off”, someone “not at that time”. And each time, Balaam spoke of the one he saw:

“…And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!..”

“…And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain….”

“…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…”

So then, Balaam sees an Israel against which there is no divination. That is to say, an Israel whom the Father can not possibly be moved against. And Balaam sees a people against which there is no enchantment or curse. Then, amazingly, in the very next chain of events, we see the children of Jacob, the nation of flesh, fall into foolishness:

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel….”

Who did Balaam see afar off? Certainly not this people who angered the Lord so quickly. Balaam saw Christ. He saw the one who at the very time Balaam saw Him, was present and would later expound what had happened to the natural nation who were so easily brought down. The one Balaam saw afar off who could not be cursed, saw Balaam go on to teach Balak how to get what he hired Balaam to accomplish.

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There is only one Holy Nation. One that is not reckoned with the nations of men. It is Christ, the resurrected, glorified son of man, and them begotten to God in Him. And today, we see in the assemblies, multitudes in the valley of decision. Multitudes straining to hear the small still voice often drowned out by the shepherds, teachers and leaders for hire. This ruinous way was fore ordained of old. But what was not fore ordained, is who would walk in it. That is a matter of choice.

He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.

 

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