Balaam’s Error

King Balak of Moab was uncomfortable with the arrival of the Israelites adjacent to Jericho in 1406 B.C. Instead of warring with the Israelites on the banks of the Jordan River, he summoned the prosperity prophet, Balaam (Num 22). The elders of Midian and Moab sent messengers with cash to the renowned prophet with the desire for him to curse the Israelites (Num 22:6–7).

Yahweh commanded Balaam to not go back to Balak with his messengers (Num 22:12). God knew the heart of these state leaders, and their desire to harm God’s chosen people. Balak sent a more distinguished entourage to the prophet. This time they came with a blank check (Num 22:17). Obviously, Balaam was interested in this lucrative job opportunity, so God gave him the option of going, but with a strange twist, “but only the word which I speak to you shall you do (Num 22:21).”

God had already told Balaam not to go. Now he seemed to be telling him to go. Why the mixed message from God? It was a test. Balaam’s first error was not listening to God the first time. God does not change His mind. Balaam would soon learn there were consequences for entertaining a persistent offer to disobey God. The reprobate mind invites doubt. The tempter to sin is near, “Did God say?”

Prophet divination for profit has always been a big business. Even today, we have psychics, tarot card readers, palm readers, spiritual mediums, clairvoyants, etc., ready to be the mediators between gods and men. If you want higher knowledge for deeper life, you will have to pay for it. King Balak was ready for the renowned prophet to curse the Israelites, and the renowned prophet was ready for his financial windfall in the ministry. If Balaam’s first error was to disobey God’s Word, his second error was to be greedy for financial gain (see Ezekiel 34 for the profile of a bad pastor).

God is angry with the wicked all day long (Ps 7:11), and He was angry with Balaam for going (Num 22:22). God’s ways are higher than man’s ways (Is 55:8–9); so Yahweh put Balaam’s ass into His employ. Three times the donkey was given a view to an angel of the Lord en route to Balak. Each encounter caused the donkey to attempt avoidance. Balaam struck the beast three times.

Now God was angry with Balaam. Balaam was angry with his burro. God permitted Balaam’s ass to express his anger with human words (Num 22:28). Balaam had eyes but could not see. He was blind to the ominous presence of the warring angel. When God opened Balaam’s eyes, the prophet confessed his sin (Num 22:34). Balaam’s third error was inciting God to anger, by his disobedient actions and his wicked heart motive.

Although he was now willing to turn back, Balaam was instructed to press on to Balak (Num 22:35). God had given the false prophet over to reprobation, but He would not let him curse Israel with his mouth. Balak was angry with Balaam, and he chastised the prophet for his reluctance to do the state’s bidding (Num 22:37). Balaam’s fourth error, because of the three previous errors, was to position himself between Yahweh and the civil government. Balaam quickly learned he could not do the will of both of God and state. King Balak’s civil agenda was to harm the people of God, and Yahweh would have none of it.

If your local, state, or federal government has a penchant to curse the church of Jesus Christ, you may wish to encourage them to consider Numbers 22–24. When the prophet was hired to curse Israel, Yahweh sent words of blessing upon His people (Num 23:7–10). The church explains itself to the state, in the same way Balaam tried to explain his position to King Balak. A preacher must be careful to speak what the Lord puts in his mouth. What is in the preacher’s mouth comes from the preacher’s heart. What is in the preacher’s heart should be the Word of God, the Bible. Balaam’s fifth error was not understanding, “The Lord God is with His people (Num 23:21).”

Balak was not satisfied with this arrangement of Yahweh being for His people (Num 23:13). A second sacrificial invocation in a different location produced the same results, a blessing for Israel (Num 23:19–24). Once again, angry words were exchanged between the pastor for profit and king of curses (Num 23:25–26). Neither of them could change God’s lovingkindness toward His people, Israel.

Balak was still not satisfied with the results atop the second hill, so he took Balaam to a third location, called, “Peor.” The sacrificial invocation was attempted again. This time the prophet preached the oracle of God with Messianic ramifications. In doing so, he placed the curse upon Moab (Num 24:9). Balak refused to pay Balaam his wages, as his anger burned against the prophet. So the prophet continued to preach his fourth message from God.

The fourth sermon includes a prophecy of the star of Bethlehem (Num 24:17). It also included the promise of a King for Jacob, who would be a blessing to the nations (Gen 12:1–3), whose universal dominion (Num 24:19) would be forever (Dan 7:14).

Balaam’s career continued, as did the legacy of his teachings. When he was unable to serve the state for his wages (2 Pet 2:15), by cursing Israel, he later encouraged a different strategy. Balaam taught Balak to liberalize Israel through sexual immorality and idolatrous practices (Rev 2:14). This is the way of false prophets and teachers (Jude 1:11). Israel was prohibited from taking foreign wives, who would lead them into the worship of foreign idols and serving foreign gods. Believers are prohibited from being yoked together with unbelievers for the same reasons.

Balaam’s errors are with us, today. The false philosophy of liberalism, a doctrine of demons, has pervaded the governments of Western culture. The desire to punish Christians for not participating in making foods sacrificed to the gods of homosexuality has now been criminalized. Massive fines are currently being levied against Christian business owners in the United States for not participating in the promotion of sexual immorality. This is done in the name of civil rights for sexual deviants.

Christian street preachers in the United Kingdom and Australia are commonly being arrested for “hate speech.” Their crime is to call sexual immorality a sin. In these cases, the tension between church and state is growing. The issue at hand is the Word of God versus the demon inspired philosophy of men. In each of these cases, the Word of God is put on trial by civil courts. The true prophets of God are arrested and thrown in jail. These laws and their fines are unfair. What would Balaam do?

To attempt to condition the church, the Israel of God (Gal 6:16), prosperity prophets are employed to lead astray the elect, if it were possible. They earn the wages of unrighteousness (2 Pet 2:15) in doing the state’s bidding to lead the Christian church into affirming the sins of sexual immorality. Whole denominations are given over the ways of wickedness. These are called, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) affirming denominations.”

Noteworthy on the ever-growing list: Presbyterian Church (USA); Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA); Episcopal Church (United States); Church of Scotland; and United Church of Christ. Succumbing to the teachings of Balaam, these leaders are subjecting themselves to Balaam’s end (Jos 13:22), as well as the end of Moab (Num 24:17). Yahweh is not mocked. There are consequences to unrighteousness and ungodliness (Rom 1:18).

Preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who are true to the Bible, must not even engage in the fodder of the “Gay conversation.” Christian liberals are entertaining a “relevant discourse,” but in reality, they are opening Pandora’s box for the state to intrude upon the church in the West. These teachers must be rebuked. Sexual immorality has no place in the church, and yet, what form of sexual immorality is not represented by church attendees, today? Many of these people are not even Christians. If they were, they would not subject themselves to the advocacy of sexually immoral practices from church leaders. The blind are still leading the blind into the ditch.

Celebrating sexual sin was Balaam’s agenda (Rev 2:14). It had infiltrated the church at Pergamum. When the local church becomes the synagogue of Satan, it is time to repent. Without repentance, the candlestick of God’s Spirit will be removed. When candlestick is removed, the light of God is gone. When the light is gone, you receive your just reward. How about a Muslim mayor for your once great city? How about an unhindered, systematic Islamic invasion? God’s cure for liberalism may just be Islamic chaos and subsequent oppression in new territories. This appears evident, today. It was certainly true for apostate Israel during the period of the judges (1350–1051 B.C.) and divided kingdom (930–586 B.C.).

There is something left for the church in America to do. We must learn the lessons of Balaam. We have learned from him: 1) God’s word does not change and will not be compromised; 2) God’s Word will be preached by His sovereign will and power; 3) God loves His people, the church, and He will discipline them when they follow the ways of Balaam; 4) the true prophet of Yahweh will never subject himself to the state; 5) the true prophet of God will never comply with the civil agenda for the promotion of sin; 6) the pastor who adheres to sinful civil agendas or profiteering from serving the state is a false teacher, like Balaam, who was constrained by God in one way, and yet, found another way to lead God’s people astray; 7) the false prophet, who persists in leading God’s people astray, will reap what he sows. Balaam sowed the seed of death to Israel, and he reaped death at the hands of Israel (Jos 13:22). “Vengeance is Mine,” says the Lord, “I will repay (Dt 32:35; Rom 12:19; Heb 10:30).”

In conclusion, every Christian must consider her local church. She must also consider the leadership of the church, who are casting a vision for the people to perish or be purified. If you find yourself in the midst of a sinful congregation, supporting a sinful society, you must separate. These are Balaam’s errors, and they are deadly. Pray to the Lord God of Israel; seek wisdom and discernment. Repent, if necessary, but whatever you do, avoid the spirit in the man who did not see the angel of the Lord ready to strike him dead. If you follow him, you will meet his demise.

The Lord is slow to anger and slow to wrath (Ex 34:6; Num 14:18), but His wrath is against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of unrepentant men. The god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), and the spirit of the age, is diametrically opposed to the people of God. Satan’s prosperity prophets are the doom of all who follow their words and their ways.

When Joshua crossed the river, the ultimatum was set, “Choose this day whom you will serve (Jos 24:15a).” The idols, and the demons of sexual immorality, would love to have you join them. Joshua would have none of this nonsense, declaring, “As for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh (Jos 24:15b).” Sodom burned. Rome burned. Nagasaki burned. Fort McMurray burned. Minneapolis burned. Portland burned. Soon, all will burn (2 Pet 3:10–12). You, too, live in the valley of decision. Christian, you must choose, this day, who you will serve, for you may not have another.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

April 15, 2021


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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher