(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
Balaam was an enigmatic figure in the Bible. In the Old Testament, he was portrayed as a prophet with many contradictions. In spite of his uncanny ability to hear from the Almighty and to see visions with his eyes open, Balaam incurred God’s wrath by embarking on a forbidden prophetic mission. Even when his life was miraculously spared by divine intervention, instead of turning back home, he continued on that destructive journey, relying on the permissive will of God, rather than his perfect will. Though Balaam gave very accurate and divinely-inspired prophecies, and though he seemingly refused to be induced by the promise of material gains to speak outside of the divine mandate, he ended up being destroyed by the army of Israel, on God’s orders, for luring Israel into idolatory. Prophet Balaam was indeed an intriguing seer, a man of many contrasting parts, whose calling and ambitions were constantly at loggerheads, as the Scriptures revealed. The lust of the eyes (greed) eventually undermined his relationship with God and sealed his doom (Numbers Chapters 22-25).
Numbers 22:1 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.
Numbers 22:2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.
Numbers 22:3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel.
Numbers 22:4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.
Numbers 22:5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me!
Numbers 22:6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
Numbers 22:7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.
Numbers 22:8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.
Numbers 22:9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”
Numbers 22:10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying,
Numbers 22:11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’”
Numbers 22:12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
Numbers 22:13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”
Numbers 22:14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
Numbers 22:15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they.
Numbers 22:16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me;
Numbers 22:17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’”
Numbers 22:18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.
Numbers 22:19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”
Numbers 22:20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.”
Numbers 22:21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.
Numbers 22:22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.
Numbers 22:23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.
Numbers 22:24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side.
Numbers 22:25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again.
Numbers 22:26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
Numbers 22:27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
Numbers 22:28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
Numbers 22:29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”
Numbers 22:30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”
Numbers 22:31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.
Numbers 22:32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me.
Numbers 22:33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”
Numbers 22:34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”
Numbers 22:35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
Numbers 22:36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory.
Numbers 22:37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”
Numbers 22:38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.”
Numbers 22:39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth.
Numbers 22:40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.
Numbers 22:41 So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people.
Numbers 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness.
Numbers 24:2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.
Numbers 24:3 Then he took up his oracle and said:
“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,
Numbers 24:4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Who falls down, with eyes wide open:
Numbers 24:5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob!
Your dwellings, O Israel!
Numbers 24:7 He shall pour water from his buckets,
And his seed shall be in many waters.
“His king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
Numbers 24:8 “God brings him out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox;
He shall consume the nations, his enemies;
He shall break their bones
And pierce them with his arrows.
Numbers 24:9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’
“Blessed is he who blesses you,
And cursed is he who curses you.”
Numbers 24:10 Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!
Numbers 24:11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the Lord has kept you back from honor.”
Numbers 24:12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying,
Numbers 24:13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak’?
Numbers 31:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
Numbers 31:2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”
Numbers 31:3 So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm some of yourselves for war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian.
Numbers 31:4 A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.”
Numbers 31:5 So there were recruited from the divisions of Israel one thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
Numbers 31:6 Then Moses sent them to the war, one thousand from each tribe; he sent them to the war with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the holy articles and the signal trumpets in his hand.
Numbers 31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, just as the Lord commanded Moses, and they killed all the males.
Numbers 31:8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword.
Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took the women of Midian captive, with their little ones, and took as spoil all their cattle, all their flocks, and all their goods.
Numbers 31:10 They also burned with fire all the cities where they dwelt, and all their forts.
Numbers 31:11 And they took all the spoil and all the booty—of man and beast.
Numbers 31:12 Then they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.
Numbers 31:13 And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation, went to meet them outside the camp.
Numbers 31:14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle.
Numbers 31:15 And Moses said to them: “Have you kept all the women alive?
Numbers 31:16 Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.
It took the writings of the apostles in the New Testament to unveil the true nature of Balaam as a wayward prophet who was more concerned with the use of his gifts for personal gains, than in pleasing the God who called and gifted him into the prophetic ministry. Balaam was a seer who couldn’t resist the lure of wealth and material gains in ministry. Although his words sometimes appeared to show he wasn’t after money, his actions readily betrayed his true motives. Despite his protestations that no amount of money could make him curse Israel, Balaam ended up offering Balak the recipe for doing just that, by enticing God’s people into idolatory and fornication with the daughters of Midian! It was Balaam, a prophet of God, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block in the path of God’s people, by inviting Israel to participate in idol worship and sexual immorality! How could a man who had such profound visions of the Most High deliberately set up God’s people to rebel against him? How could a prophet of God lure God’s people into idolatory and fornication? The answer is simple. A man of God who values his belly more than his calling will readily sell his anointing to the highest bidder, even if that means misleading God’s people into destruction. A prophet who loves the wages of unrighteousness will shamelessly distort the word of God to suit his personal interests. It was the love of money that drove Balaam into using his prophetic gift for evil purposes and becoming a false prophet thereby. And it is the love of money today that derails men of God from the path of righteousness and shipwrecks their faith. Covetousness will blind a man’s eyes to the truth of the gospel and make him follow after other gods (including mammon, the god of riches), while thinking he’s still following God. We’re vehemently warned in the Scriptures to flee from such prophets who lure us to follow after other gods, even though they may give us accurate and infallible prophecies! God is simply testing our loyalty to him with such prophets like Balaam, who are already marked for destruction.
Numbers 25:1 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.
Numbers 25:2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.
Numbers 25:3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.
Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
2 Peter 2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
2 Peter 2:3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
2 Peter 2:5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
2 Peter 2:6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;
2 Peter 2:7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked
2 Peter 2:8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—
2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
2 Peter 2:10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,
2 Peter 2:11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
2 Peter 2:12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,
2 Peter 2:13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,
2 Peter 2:14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.
2 Peter 2:15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2 Peter 2:16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Jude 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Jude 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.
Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
Jude 1:12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
Jude 1:13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:11 The Good Confession
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
1 Timothy 6:14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing,
1 Timothy 6:15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
1 Timothy 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
Deuteronomy 13:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
Deuteronomy 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’
Deuteronomy 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 13:4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
Deuteronomy 13:5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
The error of Balaam was in assuming that as long as he kept hearing from God and seeing visions of the Almighty, he had divine approval for all his actions, however immorally he lived. It is in believing that continual display of the prophetic gift is a sign of divine vindication and approval of a sinful lifestyle. Samson too believed the same gospel, and therefore lived recklessly, lured into a false assurance of safety, as long as the power to perform miraculous signs and wonders continued to rest upon him. But, such prophets are ignorant of the fact that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. What this means is that, once God has imbued someone with a gift or supernatural ability, he doesn’t recall that gift back, even if the person misuses it or uses it against the will of God. Such gifts will continue to be operational in the life of the servant possessing them, even if the person lives an ungodly life (Remember Lucifer, God’s covering cherub who rebelled against God to become Satan? Well, he still retains his supernatural powers!). God’s judgement for the misuse of gifts and talents will come at the end of a servant’s life, not before. We will account for our talents, but not here and now. That accounting will be done at the judgement seat of Christ, at the end of the ages. Thus, God not taking immediate actions against an erring servant, and even allowing his gifts to continue to operate in such a person’s life, is not an endorsement of the person’s lifestyle. God is simply long-suffering and does not usually bring judgment before the time. But, God’s judgement will surely come one day, and all the secret works of darkness will be laid bare, and everyone will receive his due reward from the Lord.
Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Romans 14:11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
1 Corinthians 4:4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
Matthew 25:15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
Matthew 25:16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
Matthew 25:17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
Matthew 25:18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.
Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
Matthew 25:20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’
Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 25:22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’
Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
Matthew 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
Matthew 25:26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
Matthew 25:27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
Matthew 25:28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
Matthew 25:29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
Matthew 25:30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
In conclusion, Balaam was a gifted prophet with an exceptional ability of connecting to God and accessing the divine will. Nevertheless, he made shipwreck of his faith and ended up destroyed in his prime. His error was in placing the love of money above his calling, and in being swayed by the wages of unrighteousness to lead God’s people astray. He was deceived by greed into thinking that he could make merchandise of his gifts and still retain God’s favour. Like many of his modern counterparts, Balaam misunderstood his calling, and presumed ownership of the gifts of God in his life, forgetting he was just an unprofitable servant entrusted with talents that he would one day be called upon to account for. May we take heed from the error of Balaam and strive to live as people who would one day appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of our stewardship. May we lay hold on eternal life and run with patience the race set before us, looking unto and following the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in meekness, humility, and godliness with contentment, which have great eternal rewards.
Thanks for visiting the blog. We hope you were blessed by the message. We’d love to have your feedback on this and other articles on the blog. You can also follow us to have subsequent posts sent directly to your inbox. God bless you!