What would you do if someone offered you limitless resources? In “The Blank Check” we looked at a man named Lot, and what he did with his “Blank Check”, and how it did not turn out very well for him. Now I would like to look at a man named Balaam who was offered “Another Blank Check”.
Balaam was a prophet. We don’t have very much information about Balaam. In fact, the first instance that Balaam is mentioned in the Bible is right here in Numbers 22. We don’t have any other record of his actions other than this incident. He is mentioned in the Bible 60 times in 8 different books; however Every time he is mentioned it is in relationship to the situation that we are looking into now, which begins in Numbers 22.
Before we get into where Balaam receives a Blank Check, we must first look at the reason the King of the Moabites would be afraid of the Israelites. According to Numbers 14:28-38 The Israelites rebelled against God and did not trust him to deliver them from their enemies, but instead had a complaining spirit; Therefore, God said that they must wander in the wilderness for 40 years. In Numbers 14:29 God said that all of the people that were 20 years old and above (except Caleb, and Joshua because they believed God) who complained against him would die in the wilderness, and not enter the Promised Land, Even though they were currently standing at the edge of it.
At the end of the 40 years of wandering (we know that it had been 40 years because of the death of Aaron, Compare Numbers 20:23-29 with Numbers 33:38-39) The Israelites requested permission to pass through the land of the Amorites. As recorded in Numbers 21:21-26 King Sihon of the Amorites not only refused passage to them, but he gathered his army together to attack the Israelites, but Numbers 21:24 records the fact that the nation of Israel was victorious, and took all the cities of the Amorites. Then we read in Numbers 21:33-35 that King Og of Bashan brought his army to fight against them, but Israel was victorious once again.
Balak King of Moab had heard what Israel had done to the Amorites, and since the Amorites had previously beaten Moab in battle (Numbers 21:25-30), this made Balak terrified of Israel.
Balak decided against taking military action against Israel and instead decided to get supernatural help. Therefore, Balak sent messengers to Balaam, a well-known soothsayer. Balaam had the reputation that whoever he blessed would be blessed, and whomever he cursed would be cursed. The messengers went to see Balaam bringing with them payment for his services. In Numbers 22:8 Balaam tells these messengers to wait while he goes to see what the Lord would tell him to do.
God came to Balaam and told him that he shouldn’t go with the men, that he couldn’t curse the Israelites, and that Israel had been blessed (Genesis 12:1-4). The next morning Balaam just simply told the messengers that God said that he couldn’t go. Notice that God said more to Balaam than what he shared with these men. God gave Balaam a 3-point message: 1. Don’t Go, 2. Don’t Curse, and 3. They are blessed, but Balaam only delivered the first point. The fact that Balaam wasn’t willing to communicate the full message that he received from God should be our first indication that Balaam wasn’t being entirely honest.
The messengers returned to Balak and delivered Balaam’s message. Balak wouldn’t give up just yet, though. He instead sends another group of messengers to Balaam with the promise of even a greater reward if he will come and curse the Israelites.
The Blank Check Offered
In Numbers 22:17, Balak promises Balaam that if he curses Israel than Balak will do whatever Balaam asks him to do.
So what did Balaam do? He told the men to wait while he asked God what he should do. Now was this even necessary? No, it wasn’t. God had already told him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t to curse the people. Balaam was looking for a loophole because he wanted to cash in his Blank Check.
God’s message to Balaam this time as found in Numbers 22:20 is that “if” the men come back to you then you can go, but you can’t say anything other that what I tell you to say. So what did Balaam do? He disobeyed God. He didn’t wait for the men to come to him; instead, he got up in the morning, and immediately saddled his donkey, and prepared for the trip.
On the way to Moab, Balaam’s donkey started to act strangely. It wouldn’t stay on the path, and finally, when they came to a narrow place in the path that had a wall on each side, the donkey crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. This enraged Balaam, and he beat the donkey, and then the strangest thing happened:
After hearing the donkey speak to him, Balaam’s eyes were opened, and he could see the Angel of the Lord standing in his way with a sword. Balaam immediately realized that his real motives had been found out. (Numbers 22:18)
The Lord allowed Balaam to go, but would not allow him to curse Israel. In fact, God made Balaam bless Israel; which displeased Balak. (Numbers 23:11-12)
The Blank Check accepted
Balaam wanted to cash in his Blank Check, so he came up with an alternate plan. He taught Balak how to get Israel to Sin against God, and, therefore, bring a curse upon themselves. In Numbers 25:1-3 we see that Israel started to worship the gods of Moab. How did this come to pass? According to Numbers 31:14-16 it was through the counsel of Balaam that the women of Moab infiltrated Israel, and influenced them to abandon the Lord.
So here we have Another Blank Check offered, accepted, and cashed in. But how did this work out for Balaam? Well according to Numbers 31:8 it cost him his life. And as if that wouldn’t be bad enough, we have him being used in several Scripture passages as an example to avoid.
According to 2 Peter 2:15 there is the Way of Balaam (The Love of the wages of unrighteousness), and in Jude 11 we see the Error of Balaam, which was covetousness, and finally in Revelation 2:14 we see the Doctrine of Balaam, which is that he caused Israel to stumble. Every time Balaam’s name comes up in the Bible, which is ten times outside the book of Numbers, it is in a negative context.
Even though it looked like Balaam had a pure heart when he went to God for advice, we can now see that he had already made up his mind as to what he wanted to do beforehand.
We need to take a lesson from the life of Balaam. Though most of us would probably never even consider cursing Gods people; we need to remember that any time we make up our mind to do something regardless of what God shows or tells us, we are following the Way, Error, and Doctrine of Balaam.
If you are offered a Blank Check, and you decide to seek Gods counsel, Make sure you submit to his counsel regardless the cost.
Next we will look at one more Blank Check. This one is being offered to a King. Let’s see what Solomon does with his Blank Check.
Our hope at Irvington Bible Baptist Church is that this article provided some encouragement and helped your Christian walk.