Read 42.) Numbers 22:1 thru 24:25. Israel is on the threshold of going into her Promised Land. God had made of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob many descendants, and He had delivered them from their bondage in Egypt. God had already fulfilled 2 of the 4 promises and prophecies He had given to the Patriarchs 13 times and was now about to fulfill a third. But, it would not be without opposition and hardship. Balak of Moab was terrified and would resort to witchcraft and the conjuring of a curse thru one Balaam, known for his power in the occult. What’s going to happen? From chapter 22, the scene is taking place in what is today the nation of Jordan. Verse 8 amazes, because, according to the record, this Balaam refers to the One from Whom he will seek his authority to curse Israel as the LORD, using the proper Name for the One, True God! And, we next read that it was God Who came to him! (No doubt, the Angel of the Lord). This gets confusing fast! Then, see verse 18. Balaam calls the LORD his God! Now, buried in verses 18 thru 20, we are to understand, as it gets related much later, that in Balaam’s heart, he really did want to go and to receive Balak’s reward! As much as he ‘talks a good game’, he wanted those riches, and in the end, this will be his undoing! Verse 22 helps us to understand this, and begins the miraculous scene where Balaam’s donkey speaks to him! This Angel of the Lord plays a large role in the scene, and is a divine personage. It is at least the 12th time we read of Him beginning with Genesis 16, nearly 700 years before! The chapter closes with a seemingly meek and greatly humbled Balaam, but pay close attention….
Chapter 23 tells of Balaam still referring directly to the LORD by His proper name, and that it was God coming to him. With the account we learn of one means of revelation whereby God gives the very words the prophet is to speak; speaking the very words of God from out of his own mouth! Please note from verse 9 that the people of God are to ‘live apart’. This is called separation. Do you live in such a manner? Separation must be from godless, worldly culture; what we call ‘Pop Culture’ today. God meets with Balaam a second time, beginning with verse 13, and the result is similar. From this passage, we have a famous verse in 19, concerning the character and nature of God, unlike our own. And, then, there is even a 3rd attempt, beginning at 23:27. If 22:8+9 caused some confusion, 24:1+2 may be even more confusing. Understand that the 3 altars and offerings were not proper sacrifices to the Lord, but of sorcery, or witchcraft! And, Balaam is a sorcerer, yet, 24:2 says that the Spirit of God came upon him… Wow! Pay attention to Balaam’s 4th oracle with 24:15-24. Within verse 17 is the 4th prophecy concerning the coming Messiah! A world ruler would, in a day far off, arise out of Israel! The previous 3 prophecies were Genesis 3:15, 12:3 and 49:10. And, it was almost certainly this prophecy that summoned the Magi from the east in Matthew 2:1 thru 12. The story appears to end with Balaam going back home unrewarded, but that is not to be the case, as we shall soon see…. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell