God can use anyone or any thing to spread the Gospel. However just as He wishes that all would be saved but aren’t, He wishes that those who are saved would be the ones to share not only the gospel Truths about what is “warm and fuzzy,” but also the “hard sayings.” John 6:60. We (you and I) are all charged to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3
Is it more difficult for you to share Biblical “hard sayings” with friends and relatives than it is to do the same on the mission field or in a foreign land? I don’t know about you, but that is surely true with me. Yet, sharing Truth “out of season” (when it isn’t popular) is the biggest act of love that can be extended to those we love.
Why God had to resort to speaking through an ass
Please don’t be offended by the word ass used in its proper context. God uses it 154 times in the Bible. It’s not that God created it vile; it is the sin of man who has so misused this word that even those chosen to preach the Word are timid to speak it as God has preserved it in the Bible. The same thing has happened with words such as hell and even God. None of these three are archaic or hard to understand. They are used blasphemously untold numbers of times every day; yet, they are removed hundreds of times in many Bibles.
God had to resort to having an ass speak to his owner, a prophet chosen of God, who had become blinded to a death threat on his life. He was blinded by his own lust when he compromised after being asked by an enemy nation to curse the children of Israel. Prophets are often given tasks to speak what the people do not want to hear and thus they have been stoned, torn apart, rejected, persecuted, punished, and excommunicated. Balaam’s situation, however, was different. He sold out his commission for the “wages of unrighteousness.”
For an undetermined number of years, Balaam had talked and walked with the LORD—perhaps just as had Adam and Eve. He, like them, got caught up in covetousness and the lust of his flesh, letting the love of fame and money corrupt his mind and soul. He sold out by subtily* (subtly) compromising God’s Word. (*See Genesis 3:1
.) Sadly, this happens even today when Christians and their leaders refuse to speak the Truth (or they sugar coat it) to friends and relatives and to those of the flock of the LORD regarding sin, especially when it is a sin that many are practicing, such as fornication and adultery.
Balaam did not want to tell an enemy nation of the Israelites that he would have nothing to do with their conspiracy to destroy them. By so doing a two-fold, self-inflicted punitive judgment came upon Balaam:
(1) God “allowed” Balaam to continue in the sin that was in his heart, and
(2) spiritual blindness came into his life (expressed by a physical manifestation of death which he was unable to see). Balaam could not see the danger of death that God had placed before him; yet, Balaam’s faithful ass not only saw it, but tried to protect his master. Being so blinded, Balaam beat his ass three times when the animal refused to move forward into the impeding sword of death.
What do we do when we read
a clear prohibition in God’s Word
that goes against our lifestyle
or something we deeply want to do?
Balaam was asked by the Moabites to bring a curse upon the Israelites. At first he said no, but his heart and mouth were not in sync. He got caught in a horrific tragic compromise. As a cover-up, he asked God’s advice, even though he had already asked the same before. God spoke His Word—that he should not commingle with nor assist the enemies of the Israelites. Initially, Balaam didn’t compromise what God had told him, but the “… princes of Moab … sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable … And they came to Balaam … For I will promote thee unto very great honour … curse me this people.” (Numbers 22:14-17) Instead of running in the opposite direction and having nothing to do with the enemies of the Israelites, Balaam played with the metaphorical “snake.” He asked God the same question again, already knowing what God had previously told him and that God’s Word never changes. Balaam said to the servants of Balak, “… I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.” Numbers 22:19.
Woe unto us when we will not receive God’s Word.
How many of us have done the very same thing? We have read a very clearly written command or precept in the Bible; yet, we pray and ask God for a way around it or seek to see if some pastor or other Biblical scholar has a different interpretation that will please our flesh. We fast; we ask other Christians to have God show us what to do. Likewise, this was what was happening in the divided heart of Balaam.
What comes next in this passage
is something very important
but what many may miss.
God seemingly changed His mind, encouraged Balaam to sin, and then afterward punished him: “And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them … And Balaam rose up in the morning and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.” Numbers 22:20, 21
You must study this incredible series of events
(and consider the importance of reading and receiving
the whole counsel of God).
To properly interpret Scripture we must often look beyond the immediate verses. “Search the scriptures …” is the instruction of God. John 5:39 Many saints come up with false doctrine because they don’t search all of the Scripture on a given topic.
Almost immediately, it seems, that God was unfair to Balaam: “God’s anger was kindled because he [Balaam] went …” Numbers 22:22 God sent an “adversary” against Balaam. This adversary was an angel of death—sent because Balaam had let sin blind him to discernment of danger. Sadly, he could not recognize that death was at his doorstep. Ironically, Balaam’s faithful ass saw and tried to protect his master—not once, but three times to stop, even as Balaam beat him for not continuing into the impeding danger to which Balaam had blinded himself: “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.” Numbers 22:27
It was a miraculous thing that happened. The ass spoke with man’s words: “… the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” 2 Peter 2:16 “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.
Many “smite” the messengers of God.
And the angel of the LORD said unto him [Balaam], 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.” Numbers 22:28-34
“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man …” Genesis 6:3 God changes His Word for no man; it is man who often changes God’s words to justify sinful lifestyles and acts. God has recorded for all mankind, for all ages exactly what He means and changes it not—for the lost or the saved. “Jesus [the Word] is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8 There will come a time when the transgressor will not be able to turn from the sin he has chosen—likely because he has lived in the transgression and rationalized it so long that his conscience has become seared so that evil becomes good in his mind. “So they did eat, and were well filled: for he [God] gave them their own desire … but while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and [He] slew … and smote … the chosen men of Israel.” Psalm 78:29-31
Do you know anyone who might unknowingly be
under God’s punitive favor?
This is what happened to Balaam. God clearly gave the Word, but Balaam’s flesh wanted the pleasures of this world; so when he played the game of trickery with God, the LORD gave him over to his own lust and told him to go ahead and do what He knew was in Balaam’s heart. Study Romans 1:28-32
and 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
. Sin is “allowed” because of man’s hardened heart but it is never
sanctioned by God. Study Matthew 19:8-9. It’s one of many such examples in the Scripture: “He [Jesus] saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered
[allowed] you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” What follows is God’s punitive judgment for man’s refusal to obey Him: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife … and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Jesus clearly defines the sin of dishonouring His covenant of marriage then gives the punitive judgment on those whom He “allows” to live therein—because of what He says is “hardness of hearts
This is the judgment (God’s punitive favor) that many in this life do not comprehend. God never approves of sin and will judge every sin from which transgressors refuse to turn. God allows or “suffers” people to divorce, lie, cheat, steal, murder—even to enter into and live in adulterous relationships for many years because they choose to reject His Word and harden their hearts against Him. This was the case with Balaam. Study more about God’s punitive favor in The Miracle of Marriage
The message for us when we consider
compromise against God’s Word …
This is the warning we should see and apply to our lives when we read the account of Balaam’s ass who spoke to give his master (Balaam) warning of impending danger. It should have been such a frightening warning that Balaam would have turned away from any allegiances with evil, but he didn’t.
Is God tying to use you to speak to others who are living, perhaps unknowingly, blinded under God’s punitive favor? Or perhaps are you doing so, even knowing that God warns against it and may even say in the Bible that He hates what you are doing in one or more areas of your life?
Let us not go the way of Balaam.
Blessings unto you and your loves ones as we remain
In Christ’s Service,
Judith Brumbaugh, Founder/President
Restoration Of The Family, Inc.
This teaching is posted as part of the mission of Restoration Of The Family to equip believers to live, teach, and contend for the faith. We teach from the King James Bible. Please let us know if you (1) wish to submit questions, (2) would like prayer, or (3) would like other materials by responding to marriage@RestorationOfTheFamily.com
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