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Monday, April 22nd, 2024
the Fourth Week after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 24

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-25

Numbers 24:1-25

So when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he didn't even go up, as the other times before the LORD, [to seek the face or] to seek for enchantments, but he just set his face towards the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in their tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came alive ( Numbers 24:1-2 ).

He saw the camp, the peoples abiding there, the tabernacle in the middle and the people around about it.

And Balaam the son of hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but my eyes open: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river side, as the trees align aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as the cedar trees beside the waters. He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted ( Numbers 24:3-7 ).

Of course the king and kingdom looking ahead in prophecy to Jesus Christ.

God brought him forth out of Egypt; and he hath as it were the strength of a unicorn: and he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with the arrows. He couched, and he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: and who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and curses thee that curses thee. And the king's anger was kindled, and he clapped his hands together: and he said unto Balaam, Look I called you to curse my enemies, and you've altogether blessed them these three times. Now you better flee to your own place: Or I thought to promote thee to great honour; but, lo, the LORD hath kept thee back from honour ( Numbers 24:8-11 ).

I was gonna make you a great man but the Lord has kept you from that. You know, there is an honor that it is well that you be kept from; the rewards of unrighteousness. I was gonna promote you to great honor but the Lord-ah, that's the honor you don't want, I'll tell ya, the honor that the Lord holds back.

And Balaam said to Balak, I told you... your messengers, that if you would give me your whole house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, either to do good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD has said, I will speak? And now, I am going to my people: and I will advertise thee what the people shall do and the people in the latter days ( Numbers 24:12-14 ).

So I'm gonna tell you one more thing. And so he prophesied once more concerning Jesus Christ. And it's a beautiful prophecy concerning the Lord, verse sixteen

He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, he saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, [or a kingdom] and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the child of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. And out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city. And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he shall perish for ever ( Numbers 24:16-20 ).

Amalek is always, in the scripture, a type of the flesh. I don't have time to go into this tonight but when we get to the book of Esther we'll deal with Amalek, the type of the flesh. But this is God's word against the flesh. It's going to perish forever. The flesh life, going to perish forever. God's instructions to Saul concerning Amalek was what? "Wipe it out utterly." That is God's continual commandment concerning Amalek, concerning your flesh; wipe it out utterly. If you don't destroy it, it can destroy you. Paul said, "If we, by the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the flesh, we shall live"( Romans 8:13 ). The flesh life; we're not to give place to the flesh or to the flesh life but walk after the spirit and you'll not fulfill the desires of your flesh.

So, the parable against Amalek is a very important parable as God declares the end of the flesh life; "it shall utterly perish forever".

Then he looked on the Kenites, and took out the parable, and said, Strong is your dwellingplace, and you have put thy nest in a rock. Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive. And he took the parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God is doing this! And the ship shall come from the coast of Chittim, shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and shall perish for ever. And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way ( Numbers 24:21-25 ).

And you think "Awe, goody, goody for you Balaam, good man." No, unfortunately. Balaam said, "I shall see but not know, I shall behold", but I do not believe that Balaam will share in the kingdom of God though he was a prophet of God indeed. But he allowed greed to master his heart. The king had offered all of these rewards, Balaam sought God that he might go and when God wouldn't curse them and the king said, "All right, that's too bad. You go home. I told you to curse them and you blessed them, you know, I was gonna give you great honor, I can't".

Now Balaam, greedy for the rewards that had been offered by the king began to give to the king evil counsel. And in the thirty-first chapter of Numbers we are told in verse sixteen, "Behold, these cause the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor" ( Numbers 31:16 ). We'll get to that in the next chapter here, the thing that happened in Peor. But what happened, happened as the result of the advice that Balaam had given to king Balak because he was greedy for the rewards that the king was offering.

So in the book of Jude in the New Testament; the book of Jude we are commanded and the central message of the book of Jude is "keep yourself in the love of God." And we are given examples of three persons who failed to keep themselves in the love of God; Korah, Cain and Balaam. And of Balaam it said, "Because of his greed, his desire for the riches that the king was offering that they have gone the way of Balaam. It's referred to as the way of Balaam, who for reward for the greed that was there". The desire for the riches prostituted himself to the king. He was bought off.

In Revelation chapter two as the Lord deals with the church of Ephesus, no beg your pardon it must in chapter-it must be the church of Pergamos. God said to Pergamos that they had there "those who held to the doctrine of Balaam". At verse fourteen, I have chapter two, "A few things against thee because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication".

So the doctrine of Balaam: idolatry and spiritual fornication that Balaam set the king Balak up to do. Now it doesn't tell us right immediately in our text that this is what happened, but by looking at other scriptures now we understand the next chapter and what is brought out this next chapter. In second Peter chapter two and in verse fifteen Peter also makes mention of Balaam and he's talking about the false prophets. There'll be many of them. "False teachers who privately will bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord. And many will follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the truth is evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall with feigned words [or deceitful words] make merchandise of you" ( 2 Peter 2:1-3 ):

Every religious system or every so-called prophet of God who seeks to make merchandise of you through deceitful words is a false prophet and you can tell them easily. They are using these deceitful words to get you to support them. And I believe in that every computerized letter sent out by these men is guilty of feigned words; "Dear Charles".

I have a friend that was here this week, an editor of Christianity Today and he said they get the same computerized letters that says, "Dear Mr. Today, I've been thinking about you this past week. Is every thing all right, Today? Now please go out and borrow twenty-five dollars and send it to me because I'm desperate." Those are feigned words and the purpose is to make merchandise of you. The Bible classifies them as false prophets. What is feigned words? It's saying something you don't really mean. "Oh, all of you beautiful children, I love you". Yeah. You don't even know me, how can you love me? Feigned words, fair speeches, seeking to make merchandise out of people.

Now, among these false prophets Peter warns us that actually they are much like Balaam which, verse fifteen "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness" ( 2 Peter 2:15 ). The guy loved the wealth. A false prophet, taking the monies and using it for his own enrichment, prostituting his ministry.

And so he advised the king this way, he said, "Look Balak, I can't go into a little spiritual trip and bring a curse. God won't allow me to do that. But these people, their strength lies in the fact that they worship one God and God honors them and God has taken them as his people. But the God that they worship is a very jealous God and if they start worshiping other gods, then His wrath will come upon them and he'll destroy them. Now here's what you got to do. Take a lot of the beautiful young girls that are here and send them down and let them flirt with the young guys. And let them entice the young fellows into acts of fornication and when they get them all involved in these kinds of acts then let the girls bring out their little gods and say, "Look these are the gods that we worship. You want to see how we worship these gods." And their gods were worshipped in sex acts.

Many of the pagan religious systems, the actual sex act was a part of the worship of the goddess of Venus and Aphrodite and some of these other pagan gods. And in the sex act itself were spiritual rights of these religions. "So, let us show you how we worship our gods." And so the king followed the advice of the prophet and that brings us into chapter twenty-five.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Numbers 24". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/numbers-24.html. 2014.
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