Storing Up Treasures
And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God. Luke 12:19-21
The story of Balaam did not end with the three blessings God spoke to Israel through the prophet. Balaam wanted the reward Balak offered. He told him how to bring a curse on the Israelites: give them your daughters in marriage, cause them to accept false worship, and God will have to withdraw His blessing.
Israel did indeed marry the Moabites and worship their gods. Twenty-four thousand died in a plague God sent to judge them (Numbers 25:1-9) and Balaam died as an enemy to Israel because of the advice he gave to Balak (Numbers 31:8,16).
But God has promised to use all things, even evil, to work together for good “. . . for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Many years later an Israelite brought his family to Moab to escape a famine in Bethlehem. Both his sons married Moabite women, but this family remained true to the worship of God. We know this because after the man and his sons died, one Moabite daughter-in-law wanted to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi where “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Through Naomi’s grandson, the son born to the Moabitess Ruth, God brought forth David, one of Israel’s greatest kings. From King David came the King of Kings, Jesus.
One of the most meaningful lessons of Balaam’s life is that God wants to bless His people. However, sometimes we compromise and worship idols: leisure and pleasure, for example. We may care more for the temporary physical and material things offered by the world than the eternal intangible and spiritual blessings offered by God. We can’t see all of God’s plan, but for sure, we want to be on God’s side, doing His will, not our own.
Read 2 Peter 2:1-16. How does Peter use the story of Balaam’s life as an example?
Read Revelation 2:14. What warning is given to the church at Pergamum? How is Balaam remembered?
According to Luke 12:22-31, what are we to seek rather than the temporary, physical and material things offered by the world?
You might also want to read Balaam: Part One.
Nancy J. Baker