Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9 Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8 Brit Chadasha: 1 Corinthians 1:20-31
As we begin this week’s portion we see Israel had just defeated the Amorites and were on their way to Moab. Before we take off, let’s review something about the Amorites.
“Then, in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the crookedness of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:16
“See, I am sending a Messenger before you to guard you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. “Be on guard before Him and obey His voice. Do not rebel against Him, for He is not going to pardon your transgression, for My Name is in Him. “But if you diligently obey His voice and shall do all that I speak, then I shall be an enemy to your enemies and a distresser to those who distress you. “For My Messenger shall go before you and shall bring you in to the Amorites and the Ḥittites and the Perizzites and the Kenaʽanites and the Ḥiwwites and the Yeḇusites, and I shall cut them off. “Do not bow down to their mighty ones, nor serve them, nor do according to their works, but without fail overthrow them and without fail break down their pillars. Exodus 23:20-24
I believe in these verses we see mentioned the use of military language. The Hebrew word for enemy gives us the meaning of something or someone who is hostile and the Hebrew word distresser gives us the meaning of an assault that compresses someone or something or a pressing from all sides. Again in my opinion this is military language. The Father goes on to say that He is going to bring the children of Yisrael to these people groups and He is going to cut them off, i.e. cut down, destroy or make desolate. The Father even goes on to say to the children of Yisrael overthrow these guys and the Hebrew word for overthrow here gives us the meaning of breaking something into pieces by throwing or pulling it down. So again in my opinion, this is military jargon being used here. Now is it just me but does Yahweh seem like a ‘non merciful God’ here against these people? It does but let’s examine why Yahweh had beef with all the ites. There are four areas in which a nation can defile itself thus causing it to lose its military power to protect itself and its people. (can be found in Leviticus 20)
Sacrifice of innocent babies (50 million and counting)
Disregard for parents and authority (rebellion through the drug culture)
Sexual sin (perversion, fornication, adultery, homosexuality)
22 ‘And you shall guard all My laws and all My right-rulings, and do them, so that the land where I am bringing you to dwell does not vomit you out. ‘And do not walk in the laws of the nation which I am driving out before you, for they do all these, and therefore I loathed them. ‘But I say to you, “You are going to possess their land, and I Myself give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am יהוה your Elohim, who has separated you from the peoples. Leviticus 20:10-24
So to tie this up and bring us back to this week’s portion; I would like to sum the whole ite thing up in a simple way. They filled the cup of iniquity, if you will, with those four areas thus defiling the land which led to the fruit of being vomited out. In other words, they lost their military ability to protect their homes, families and land which led to them being overrun or overtaken.
At what level do we find the cup of iniquity in whatever nation in which we are dwelling today?
And all these came upon them (children of Israel in the wilderness) as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come, 1 Corinthians 10:11
We all know the story of Baalam being hired to curse Israel but the Creator only allowed them to be blessed but let’s focus on something for a bit. Here towards the end of the portion there is something I find interesting.
“And now, see, I am going to my people. Come, let me advise you what this people is going to do to your people in the latter days.” Numbers 24:14
The Hebrew word for latter days means just that, the last generation. I find this extremely interesting because Balaam prophesied something that was going to completely come to pass at the end of days. That fascinates me but actually Scripture teaches that what happened to the forefathers will happen to the descendants. Isaiah 46:10 tells us that the Creator declared what was going to happen in the end right out of the beginning. Folks, Torah is an end time book and I have to say is just as much relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
This portion is a very important one because we can learn so much from it of how not to fall into temptation. Every time we see Balaam’s name in the Brit Chadasha or Newer Testament it is in a negative light. If, we are in the end of days then it would be incumbent upon us to pay close attention not just to Balaam prophesying for money or a donkey spoke in an audible voice but the principle that is taught in this story for you and me today and the future.
And Elohim came to Bilʽam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them, but only the word which I speak to you that you do.” And Bilʽam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey, and went with the heads of Mo’aḇ. But the displeasure of Elohim burned because he went, and the Messenger of יהוה stationed Himself in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. Numbers 22:20-22
Wait a second here. He was commanded to go and when he obeyed by going it displeased the Creator? This is another place in our English text that only makes sense by looking at the Hebrew. The picture is if I were walking down the road and someone just robbed a bank and then picked me up, without my knowledge, and then later on we get pulled over. I was with the guy who robbed the bank but I wasn’t with him in that I was in agreement and took part in the crime. So that is the picture of this verse that Balaam was commanded to go with them but not to be with them in the sense that he is working for the enemy, if you will, in that he was wanting to curse Israel.
Just as our ancestors went through the tests in the wilderness, you and I will too. What choices we make depends on what is truly in our hearts. It seems today that corruption or the principles of corruption, if there are any, are acceptable and cool and the new fad. The motto of today is I want what I can get and I will do anything to get it. That type of attitude leads to a hard fall. Just as Balaam collaborated with the enemy for fame and fortune I unfortunately have to say many ‘believers’, and I use that word loosely here, are willing to do whatever they have to do to get ahead and get a gain while ignoring the consequences or whom it may hurt.
This behavior comes from a people who are eating from the good and evil side of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I also believe this is where we can find the issue. One aspect of the tests in the wilderness came about to get Egypt of Israel because for hundreds of years they had been immersed in a culture and with a people that was not their culture or their people. Mixed and mingled if you will!!!
We should ask ourselves which tree are we eating from? How long have we been mixed and mingled in the system, if you will today? There are going to come about some times in our lives where we are going to have to make a choice. What happens when the Creator tells us to go with a people? Are we just with them or are we with them in their plans to do evil and corrupt?
Possibly Balaam enjoyed his fame and fortune but what this story has left me with is how a false prophet prophesied things and they all came to pass. Just because you and I might prophesy or have miracles following us doesn’t mean that everything is A ok between us and the Creator. Brothers and sisters we must examine ourselves to see if there are any areas in our lives that might be mixed, if you will. I don’t want to be the vessel that puts stumbling blocks in front of others to inhibit them from completing their task at hand. Fame and fortune might appeal to our flesh and seem to fuel our societies but in the end we may be left asking the question was it really worth being WITH them (in agreement to bring about a plan) and not just being with them and obeying the Father in whatever He tells us to do.