Balak…NEEDED: Is There A Crazy Priest In The House?

Weekly Reading

Numbers 22:2-25:9

Micah 5:6 – 6:8

I Corinthians 1:20-31

**Volume Reading: The Book of Nehemiah


Weekly Commentary

Balak…Recruits the profitless/prophetless pimp

Numbers 22:2-25:9

Israel was camped directly across from their assignment.  Their adversary began to panic because their victory was now inevitable.  So the adversary did the only thing left to do, he sought a prophet who was willing to compromise.  Another words, a prophet who could be convinced to primp God’s people.

There will always be someone smart (an adversary) who can find a way through Israel’s wall of defence.  This adversary doesn’t have to be the strongest you will fight in battle, but he must be the craftiest.

Balak sent a few lower esteemed men to Balam at first, to test Balaam.  Then he sent more men of higher esteem to flatter Balaam’s ego.  The fact that God told Balaam not to go but he still went was a problem because Balaam was wrestling with something…his ego.  Perhaps he was tired of being a profitless prophet of meager means.  Perhaps the thought of being highly regarded appealed to him. Perhaps he was bored, disenchanted with his existence, and the invitation by Balak was interesting.  Nevertheless, Balaam refused to hear God’s “NO!” because his internal voice was saying, “YES!”

The Foolish Prophet Sells The People 

But Balak was more trouble than the prophet bargained for. He was the kind of subtle enemy that is best not to be in relationship with at all.  Balak constantly pushed Balaam to dangle over the limit.  Balak said to Balaam, if you can’t curse them from here, look at them from another perspective.

What was he looking for?  Balak was looking for a weakness by using Balaam as his eyes.  He provoked Balam and manipulated him to tell all that he knew about Israel from every angle, the past, the present, and the future.  He used Balam to see Israel clearly, so that he could stretch the information across the table and plan a strategy of attack. Balak did not waste his strength fighting God.  He learned that Israel can not be destroyed by man.  But he realized something key.  There were gaps in Israel’s history, times that they stumbled because they turned away from following God’s commandments.  So Balak learned that if he couldn’t break Israel down by cursing her on the outside, he could get Israel to invite the curse on the inside, simply by opening the door when it knocked politely.

But The People Aren’t His To Sell! 

The scripture tells us, later, that Balaam helped with this effort, though this account gives no evidence of it.  I think he assisted in ignorance.  He was foolish, under-estimating his opponent.  Perhaps Balak didn’t need Balaam to curse the people, he needed information. Balaam, considering himself wise, was truly the donkey.  He went on another profitless journey where he was ineffective, taken advantage of, and sent home empty-handed; having supplied Israel’s adersary with enough ammunition to kill 24,000 Israelites.  When Balak sent in the women of Moab (this was the method by which he got Israel to stumble) he armed the women with a plague that was lethal enough to kill an entire generation.

But glory unto God, every time Israel’s enemy has a plan to destory her, God gets there first. The truth is that God had already said that genertion would not go into the promise. Now that they were directly across from it, it was time to purge out the unworthy by letting the people tell on themselves.

Once again, it was a set up. The gaps were the people who betrayed God’s commandment and their community and their own bodies.  This time the only thing that was able to crawl through the gap was a disease that stuck to the man & woman who opened the door in the first place.  Ridding the people, yes even the 24,000, was what needed to be done, because as long as they lived, they were a danger to the body even though the body couldn’t detect them– they were hidden. But after the attack, like soapy water poured on a flat tire, the air bubbles revealed themseleves.

Balak…Can Only Stop Us Through Us!

Micah 5:6 – 6:8

So what does God expect?

God says, don’t you know already the plans that I have for you?  Don’t you know that I’ve written a good ending for you? Then do justice, love goodness, and walk modestly with your God!

While the people were mourning and grieving and Moses was feeling defeated and discouraged, and the camp was in a state of chaoes, one of the Israelites demonstrated the epitome of the atrocity of what was happening in the hearts of those who were disqualified from inheriting the promise. He brought the plague-ridden woman into the congregation in broad daylight in arrogance, not discerning and not caring what this sexual contamination was doing to the people.  He was a foolish man, detached from himself, his purpose, his legacy and his God.

When Phineas (the pirest) saw this defiant act of irreverence he was enraged with righteous indignation.  Phineas saw what one man can do to an entire assembly when he is out of line.  Phineas understood how the plague entered and how it could be terminated.  Phineas thrusted his spear through the center of the whole chaotic embarrassing mess.

Balak…Sometimes We Have To Fight Our “Selves” To Overcome Our “Selves”

I Corinthians 1:20-31

It was the first time that an Israelite took it upon himself to kill another Israelite since leaving Egypt, without an edict from God.

Phineas did what was: just, good, and Godly, regardless of the cost, in order to stop the madness that had taken over the body of believers. No one knew how to contain it, the plague was out of control.  Moses himself tried to bring order to the chaos.  But what was essential was different than before.  Someone had to get angry.  Someone had to think about what it would mean to come this far, be planted right across from the promise, and not be able to possess it. Someone had to get angry for Moses, for the congregation, and most importantly, for God.

There were 24,000 gaps, too many for anyone to fill. What was standing up one time going to do? But Phineas wasn’t moving out of strategy. He simply saw the breach and something inside him compelled him to stop it. Israel was fornicating with another spirit. Phineas recognized it. It was the spirit that threatened to take them around the wilderness, again and again! It was the spirit of Moab! Then he stood up like a crazy man, and confounded even the chiefs of Moab, and stopped it.  Balak, Israel’s enemy, was foiled again…no help from the prophet!

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