Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing,
The story of Balaam in the Book of Numbers leaves many details up to the reader. Aside from the donkey arguing with his master and Balaam seemingly being punished while obeying, we also have to wrestle with this man who, being a non-Israelite well sought after sorcerer, also related to the God of Israel as ‘Adonai my God’ (Numbers 22:18). Who then is Balaam?
We have here the perfect example of a polytheist who adheres to a large spectrum of deities. Balaam is probably an expert in the mysticism of the day, keeping tabs on all current religious news and fads, including the fresh stories coming from Egypt of a Jewish Egyptian shepherd who brought an empire to its knees along with its pharaoh and princes.
Whatever is not told us in the Hebrew Scriptures about Balaam is indicated by the writers of the apostolic Scriptures, John (Revelations 2:14), Jude (Jude 1:11), and Peter (2 Peter 2:15). These writers all had inside info from other Jewish texts and they all looked at Balaam as a ‘prophet with profit’, the typical picture of the importunate mercantile religious man who transforms religion into a business venture. Sad to say, looking at it in that light, we can see how today from East to West, religion has given way to many ‘Balaams’, who with elitist profit in mind, run their offices in a corporate manner, with the same ethics and understanding of a business.
While this is bad enough, there seems to be an even worst factor in this story. Balaam called the Lord ‘Adonai my God’. We therefore here have a man who calls upon the Name of the Adonai, who confesses with his mouth the God Creator of heaven and earth, the God of Israel as his God, but who is also a renown sorcerer on his way to curse Israel, the people of God. Can all who seem to make the beautiful confession be trusted? Obviously not, especially when godly works do not accompany godly confession.
Through the last two millennia, Jews who believe in Yeshua have seen many ‘Balaams’ in Christianity. People, including many of those who are called today ‘Church fathers’, who while confessing to believe in Yeshua the King of the Jews, the Messiah sent from He who is the God of Israel, found it their duty to malign and persecute the Jews whom God said He will restore along with their country Israel, when the time of the gentiles (non-Jews) is fulfilled; when Jerusalem is no more trampled by the nations (Luke 21:24), but is again under Jewish authority (1967?).
May we learn from the story of Balaam and take upon ourselves the rebukes from John, Jude and Peter, checking our hearts for spiritual inconsistencies.