Matthew 23:13-39; Numbers 23:27-24:25; Song of Solomon 5:2-6:3
Don’t you hate it when people with money and power can do anything they want; or at least seem to do that? People with money or power seem to be able to force others to do their will whether or not that is right. In criminal gangs, the guy in charge, the one with the power and the money, can get the little people to do whatever he wants and make them take the fall if things go wrong. In politics those in power are able to pass laws that sometimes are not only ridiculous, but at times force people to go against their religious convictions. Money and power can be dangerous.
Balaam was a prophet of God who was summoned by a man with money and power. Balak was a king of Moab and he feared the Israelites who were heading his way. He summoned Balaam to curse the Israelites, not knowing of God’s relationship with Balaam or with the Israelites. At first Balaam refused to come. Then, when he went to Balak, rather than following orders to curse the Israelites, Balaam did what he had originally promised; he passed on a word from God that ended in a blessing to the Israelites. Balak gave Balaam four chances to curse Israel, and every time Balaam spoke, the blessing upon them became more intense. Finally, Balak, in a fit of pique over the fact that Balaam had done what he had said he would do, dismissed Balaam: “Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the LORD has kept you from being rewarded.” Balaam apparently gave suggestions to Balak on how to cause Israel to fall (Rev. 2:12-14) but at this time, he apparently earned no reward from Balak because he stayed true to God. There is always a reward from God when we stay true to Him.
There are those who have always sought to curse God’s people for doing what God has commanded. There are always those who have sought to find ways to make God’s people go astray. They may entice us with wealth, power, popularity, or position. They may threaten us with loss of all of those things as well as death or severe bodily injury. Just as Jesus was tempted to do other things to gain power and wealth for accomplishing His mission in ways other than God’s plan we also are allured by the promise of wealth, power and popularity. All of those are temporary. We should always seek God’s direction and endure the attacks of those who would seek to sway us from following God. At the same time, we should always love those who would try to pull us away even as Jesus loved and forgave those who crucified Him.