Read 43.) Numbers 25:1-18 and 31:1-54. Seemingly the efforts of Balak to summon the sorcerer Balaam to come from his home near the Euphrates to curse Israel was a complete failure, and with 24:25 we read that Balaam went back home, and as 24:11 says, without any reward. That would seem to have been the end of that, but was it? While Balaam’s attempt to conjure a curse did not work, something else surely did! With chapter 25, we learn that Israel utterly failed, by engaging in the sexually immoral idolatrous worship of the pagan god Baal of Peor, a god of the Midianites. What’s this? Balak had left to go home, without any reward. But, he had said, by the word of the Lord, in 23:9, that Israel was a people ‘who live apart’, or were separate and holy unto the Lord their God. Balaam also had a sense that the Lord was a HOLY God, and detested the pagan immoral ‘worship’ practices of the false idol gods of the people around Israel. Then, in 31:8, we read this remarkable line… ‘They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword‘. What? Wait! Didn’t we read that Balaam had gone home, hundreds of miles away, to a place near the Euphrates? Yes, we did. What we are not told here, but surmise from the text, and derive from II Peter 2:15+16 and Jude 11, is that Balaam went home, dearly desiring Balak’s reward. While there, he crafted this plan whereby he could get God to curse Israel if Israel were to become unseparate, sin against the Lord, and worship the false idol gods of the nations around them. With that, we read of what Israel did in 25:1-3; and we read of what the Lord did unto Israel with verses 4 thru 9. So, you see, in the end, Balaam DID affect a curse upon Israel. And, it wasn’t an occultic curse, carried out by any demonic force of Satan’s, but rather, Balaam managed to get The Lord, the One, True and Living God of Israel, to bring down a ‘curse’ upon Israel, Himself! And, for that, we read that God sent Israel against Midian, with a promise of victory, and that He saw to it that Balaam would be there among them, when Israel got to the 5 kings of Midian so as to slay them.
The account of the division of the spoils of this battle against Midian contains one very interesting detail. Even though Israel had greatly sinned against the Lord in this matter, and then had been ordered to send a detail of 12,000 soldiers against all of Midian… God still gave Israel such a victory in this battle, that we learn, from 31:49, that not one of their own was lost in this battle. The Lord had not only given Israel the victory, He did so without His people losing one of their own! This was supernatural. What was the difference? When Israel disobeyed the Lord, and became unholy, He could not be with them and bless them, but upon a renewal of obedience unto Him, He would be with them, and so bless them, that things of a supernatural nature could take place in their lives… and, in this instance, could have gone totally unnoticed, if it had not been for the military leaders counting their forces after the battle, and learning that no one was missing. It became a cause for celebration and thanksgiving unto the Lord. Be separate. Live a holy life, and watch for what the Lord will do in your life. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell