THE WAY OF BALAAM
2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
The Lord Jesus NEVER reminds, nor lists out for others to know, the sins of his people! Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
But that is not so with apostates and other wicked souls! And Balaam is one of the most notorious apostates in the Scriptures. In fact, he is listed more often therein than the Apostate Judas, the denier of Christ! Balaam is listed in eight different books of the Bible, from Numbers to the Revelation. Whereas Judas is only listed in the four gospels and then in Acts chapter one.
And the Lord not only uses him to warn the church of the danger of such insincerity, but also gives one verse as to his extended purpose with Balaam. Micah 6:5 O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.
Therefore the church is to learn more of the character of God in wisely considering the Apostate Balaam! Proverbs 21:12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness. Listen to the second witness to this in the Apostle Paul’s writings to the Roman church.
Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
The revelation of the majestic character of God is of the utmost importance! Therefore we must have apostates to reveal his holy and righteous wrath, as well as vessels of mercy in order for him to display the riches of his glory! God’s all enduring mercy could never be displayed without a guilty object!
Partakers of the Holy Ghost
Due to the shallow, man-centered teaching of the modern church, today’s religious crowd does not even know how to read the Scriptures! Especially does the verse in Hebrews chapter six bewilder any who accidentally stumble across it! But verse four of that passage is important in studying out the notorious Apostate Balaam in order to wisely consider the righteous character of our Sovereign Lord!
Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
For this verse in it’s context, reveals that one can both taste the good word of God, and also be made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and then fall away never to be renewed to repentance ever after! They were never atoned for by the blood of the Lamb. They were never born again! They were never made righteous! But all creatures are God’s servants! Even the devil is God’s devil; his servant to do the Lord’s bidding! 1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
And ALL creatures are sustained by the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Col. 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist – cohere, or stand together. That is, the Holy Spirit animates every living thing, giving each its particular character and identity! As our dear brother Mike Conrad likes to say, “God is everything in everything!” (1Cor. 12:6, Col. 3:11).
And all apostates had to profess belief in the truth before they could deny and apostatize from it! The tares and the wheat are to grow together! The separation only comes at harvest! (Matt. 13:30). For these antichrists come from off the same church bench that the wheat grows on! 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Therefore when we read in Numbers 23:5 & 16 And the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, we cannot think this implies that Balaam’s soul is regenerated! We just know that God is using a crooked stick to draw a straight line! And we know that the Lord is surely sovereign over man’s tongue! Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. 4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
And we also read in Numbers 24:2-5 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. 3 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: 4 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: 5 How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!
Even one of the most used “Christmas passages” comes from the very mouth of this apostate! For it was from his mouth that the Holy Spirit set forth the words, there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel! (Num. 24:17).
Don’t forget! Remember that the primary purpose of God is to reveal his character! And remember that the power of his patient endurance necessitates these vessels of wrath! And also remember that this is that of which we read in Hebrews 6:4! Balaam was made partaker of the Holy Spirit every time he opened his mouth to attempt to curse Israel!
The very sin of apostates is sinning against the Holy Spirit! Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
A Voluntary Humility
Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
One of the things that both Balaam and Judas have in common with each other, and all apostates is an inordinate zeal in religion! They seek to over compensate in order to hide their true secret nature and desires! Balaam set up, not one altar to the Lord, not three, not five, but seven altars! And he sacrificed, not just small creatures, like turtledoves, but bullocks and rams! And he sacrificed both of these large and costly animals on each and every one of the seven altars!
Numbers 23:1 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. 2 And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. But you notice that it didn’t cost him anything! They were all provided at Balak’s expense!
Listen at Judas’ religious efforts, all the while that the heart of the hypocrite still beat within! John 12:4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. And isn’t that just like the religious gang of our day? They seek to make even the true believers seem as under achievers by their own legalistic zeal! Judas sought to even shame the Lord himself with his knowledge of the current market value of the perfume! But the Lord overcame this sinful zeal by pointing to the higher value of his cross!
Balaam and Judas also had another likeness. They both showed a degree of reformation! In Numbers 24:1 we read, And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. But this is only the dog vomiting out, and the sow being washed! (2 Pet. 2:22). But he is still a dog and not a sheep! His problem is that he has no new nature! His reformation is a temporary effect of the knowledge of God! 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
And of Judas we read Matt. 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. Neither he, nor his fellow apostate, Balaam benefitted from a penny of their reward of iniquity! King Balak walked away from Balaam, taking his purse with him! And all Judas’ reward obtained was a burial plot to cover his image from the sight of his conspirators! Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Let us trust in the Sovereign Lord, who alone will protect the true church from these apostates! Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 11, 2010.