“Not … able to go beyond …”
All our chapters today are most meaningful and we could follow a dozen different lines of thought and draw resultant lessons. In Numbers we completed reading the drama of Balaam; he was a prophet, but not an Israelite. He had some contact with Yahweh Israel’s God, but he also used “omens” (24:1). God forced him to speak words of blessing on Israel, instead of cursing them as Balak requested and was ready to reward him for so doing.
We are fascinated by Balaam’s final words to Balak, a progenitor of at least part of the Arabs, that even if he should give him
“his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the LORD speaks, that will I speak?” (verse 13).
We should willingly say this ourselves, diligently searching and comparing scripture with scripture to take sure we talk (and write) about God’s word truthfully. In the vision of “the latter days” Balaam is given, he sees
“Israel doing valiantly” (verse 18).
The Israelites make the mistake of living in the area for some time (25:1) and foolishly some
“began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods …. and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel”.
When we come to chapter 31, we see that Balak followed
“Balaam’s advice, (and this) caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD” (verse 16).
The time came when God caused Moses to act and not only Balak was killed, but
“Balaam also, the son of Beor, the one who practiced divination, was killed with the sword by the people of Israel among the rest of their slain” (Joshua 13:22).
Strong lessons for today as we live in the midst of a latter day ‘Moab’. In our Proverbs chapter 17 there are appropriate words,
“… one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity” but “whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (verses 20,27).
Finally, at the start of Ephesians 5 Paul addresses the believers “as beloved children” telling them to
“walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you …”.
Let us live so that we continue to be “beloved children” feeding daily on God’s word, making sure we are “not able to go beyond” the guidance it gives.