Religious people think like Balak. If you do a good deed, a bad one nullifies it and a bad deed can be nullified by a good one. Like the saying in sports, “You are only as good as your last game.” If you don’t win it all, you are unsuccessful. But, if the Lord blesses you no curse can annul that blessing. You are blessed, unless we rebel. That is a major concept in Numbers. It doesn’t matter how many non-Jewish prophets say “Israel is cursed” and “the church has replaced Israel” it doesn’t mean a thing. Israel is still blessed. A curse goes to the third and fourth generation, a blessing goes to the thousandth generation (Exo 20.5-6). The blessing is at least 500 times greater!
In the course of Balaam’s prophecies, he says that one cannot number the fourth part of Israel (23.10). This tells us that Israel camped in four parts, and we have shown earlier that it was in the form of a cross. He also said that God is not a man that he should lie (23.19); when he blesses he cannot revoke it (23.20); he does not see iniquity in Jacob (23.21). In Num 24.5 it contains the Mah Tovu, a portion that is used in Jewish prayer and there is a major prophecy about the Messiah defeating the False Messiah in Num 24.17, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, and he shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and crush the head of all the sons of Sheth.” Let’s look at some concepts in this verse.
The statement in Num 24.17, “I see him, but not now” is a major prophetical concept that we need to touch on. Eschatology is the study of the Messiah and the Redemption, and eschatology is seen from six reference points. Eschatology is seen from the historical view, Messiah’s first coming, Messiah’s second coming, the Birth-pains, the Messianic Kingdom and the Olam Haba. Prophecies can have numerous fulfillment’s and are not subject to time. We see “in part” now (1 Cor 13.12) and have “tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come” (Heb 6.5) now, and that is another way of saying “I see him, but not now” in our verse. We also see the defeat of the False Messiah in this verse where the “forehead of Moab” will be crushed and the head of Sheth will be crushed (Gen 3.15; Hab 3.13, Judges 4.21). Balaam also has another major prophecy in Num 24.20-24 where he alludes to the last days when he refers to Asshur (Russia/Gog and Magog) afflicting Eber (Israel) as we see in Ezek 38-39. We also see Kittim (Europe/Rome of the False Messiah) confronting Asshur (Russia/Gog and Magog-Ezek 38.1-6; Mic 5.5-6), and “he” (Amalek/False Messiah) coming to his end. After this we learn that Balaam went to his place, but he never made it back home (Num 31.8).
All of these truths were spoken by the mouth of Balaam, an enemy of Israel. Israel didn’t even know all these attempts at cursing them was even going on. They did not know that people were looking down of them from the mountains attempting to curse them (Num 23.9-10). But all that didn’t matter because God was protecting them. This is an important concept to remember. Don’t worry about people putting curses on you or that you have curses on you. If you belong to the Lord, you are blessed, not cursed. Even if you don’t know about someone putting a curse on you, it doesn’t matter.
In Num 25.1-9 we learn that when all of this fails, Balaam says “off the record” in Num 31.16 that they should send their daughters down to Israel. They won’t attack you. These pagan daughters should intermarry with them and lead Israel astray. As a result, their God will curse them where he couldn’t. We will look at this in more detail later. Magic won’t defeat them, sacrifices to pagan gods won’t defeat them, paganism and polytheism won’t defeat them, but introducing sin in violation of the Torah will. God will send a plague and 24,000 died because Midianite women enticed the men to worship and to eat a meal consecrated to him.
But, some people think that God doesn’t do this anymore (or does he). Obviously, if you haven’t seen this in your lifetime, it isn’t true, right? How long has God been around dealing with humans? Around 6000 years. Most people today have been around less than 80 years. If we go around thinking that God is like our experience only, that is a very limited view of God. God has said what he is like in the Scriptures. We tend to define God by the things we’ve experienced and seen, not who he has revealed himself to be.
That is why there are so many Christian denominations and groups. They make God into their denominational image instead of letting God be who he says he is. We need to conform to him, not have him conform to us. That also means there are so many ideas about the Lord, his character, how to worship, festivals and what is important. Today, it is Baal all over again.
In some places they are taking youth who are incorrigible to “sacred sites” because these places “resonate something.” This is what we see with Balaam being taken to certain areas by Balak. It’s Baal worship all over again. Ask yourself these questions. Do I follow the culture? Do I trust God or not? Do I follow the Torah or not? Do I stand for the Lord or let others dictate to me? We need to make a decision about who we are going to follow. Are we going to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the whole earth, the one true God whose name is Yehovah who spoke from a mountain, who gave us commandments and a son to show us the way of redemption? Or, are we going to follow the “Baals” that are all around us. Who will we follow? Learn the lesson of Balaam. Let our speech, thoughts and actions be for the Lord.
In Part 27 we will pick up with the next Torah portion called “Pinchas” and look into what Balaam did to cause the incident in Num 25.1-18.