The Character of Balaam
Numbers 22:15-35
And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they.…

We take this to be the great crisis in Balaam's life. We take this act, which to many appears so excellent, to be the first step in his down. ward course. It was not only the day of God's power towards Israel, but a day of grace to Balaam; but, alas! he knew it not. The precious moment on which so much depended was lost; henceforth his downward course was rapid. He perished in the rejection of grace and mercy. There is a crisis in our histories as in Balaam's, a time, perhaps a moment, on which our eternity depends. There may be nothing to mark it out as a great crisis at the time. The Spirit of God may strive with you, gently strive. There may be some conviction in your mind, and all may depend on your yielding up your heart to Christ, and acting upon that conviction at once. If you waver when you ought to act; wait for more light, when you have light enough; if you allow any second thought to come in to determine what you shall do, anything selfish or worldly, when you ought to act simply for God, then the Spirit may leave you; your day of grace, like Balaam's, may pass by, or it may be some temptation which is presented to you. We do not mean any awful temptation, one which the world itself would counsel you to resist. It may be some offer which you would be deemed foolish in rejecting, something that the world thinks an advantage; and yet if you do give way to the temptation, oh, what unforeseen consequences may follow, step by step, with unerring certainty! Let it now be impressed upon your hearts what great and eternal consequences may depend upon one little act. Oh, be faithful to God, faithful in apparently little things, as well as in great. But we must go a step further and ask, "What was it that gave this bias to Balaam's will, and led him still to inquire, when he ought to have felt, 'God has revealed His will; it is enough. I will not move from my place'?" Scripture gives a complete answer to that question. It was a besetting sin, and we are told what it was. It was the sin of covetousness (2 Peter 3:15). There are two most solemn lessons which this ought to rivet on our hearts. First, we see the amazing power and awful effects of one besetting sin. We see how it perverts the will, how it keeps the heart from resting on the plain word of God — how it leads to neglect, yea, not even to know, the day of visitation — and how it hurries the soul onward, blinded and debased, to a point at which at first it would have shuddered. The other lesson is the deceitfulness of the human heart. Its wishes may be quite opposite to its most solemn professions; and at the very moment when it seems to be guided by the will of God it may be following some device or desire of its own. To what earnest self-inspection should this character lead us, lest our hearts, too, should be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin — lest, satisfied with a decided profession, we forget that God is the searcher of the heart, and that He deals and will deal with us, not according to what we profess to be, but according to what we are, according to the real state of our hearts.

(G. Wagner.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.

WEB: Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they.

The Cause of God's Anger with Balaam
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