The doctrine of Balaam


Are you reading the Bible through with me? Grab your pen and journal, and get ready to write your thoughts as you journey through the Bible.

Today, read Numbers 22-24. Balaam was apparently a pagan priest of some sort, a "holy man" in a land filled with polytheistic (belief in many gods) cultures. But he was to have an encounter with the one true God.

The millions of Israelites who had escaped slavery in Egypt had just moved next door to the Moabites. The Moabites were deeply concerned that all of that country’s resources would be used up by the immigrants.

So, King Balak sought Balaam’s help to come to Moab and place a curse on Israel. Unfortunately, Balaam was a sinful prophet; basically, he was a “prophet for hire”. At first, he listened when God told him to not go. But the second time he was approached by Moabite officials, God told him to go with Balak's men, BUT to only do what Yahweh told him. Balaam had no intention of following God’s orders. He was greedy.

Balaam is referenced three times in the New Testament: 2 Peter 2:15 speaks of the "way" of Balaam, Jude 11 speaks of the "error" of Balaam, and Revelation 2:14 speaks of the "doctrine" of Balaam. Even though he was a prophet and God spoke to him, he planned to misuse his prophetic gift for money. He wasn’t interested in God’s will, and Balaam was hoping God would change His mind and allow him to go to Moab.

God allowed Balaam to go, but had a surprise ready. The Angel of the Lord stood in the road with a drawn sword. The donkey recognized God’s messenger, but Balaam didn’t; his eyes were blinded by riches he had coming.

Because he couldn’t curse the Israelites and get his financial reward, Balaam introduced an idea to Balak. The doctrine of Balaam was his instigation of Israel's intermarriage with Moabite women and submission to their idols. See Numbers 25:1-5. This brought more suffering to the Israelites.

It has always been the devil's strategy to defeat God's people through direct attack OR subterfuge. He comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But we have an advocate, the Lord Jesus, who covers us, defends us and delivers us. We must stand firm in biblical truth to overcome temptation. God is holy and desires to make His people holy. 1 John 4:4.

Pray: Father, God, forgive us for failing to really “see” you when our eyes are blinded by idols of entertainment, money, immoral behavior and a host of other things. Help us to listen to Your word and follow Your instructions in all things, turning away Satan when he tempts us.


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