Prophets for hire, talking donkeys, seemingly schizophrenic instructions from Yahweh, and blessings coming from a rogue prophet hired to curse Israel. There is no doubt that a cursory look at the Balaam narrative can leave us scratching our heads in many regards. Is Balaam a good guy, a bad guy, or a former good guy gone bad? Ultimately, I believe there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Balaam was no prophet of Yahweh, the God of Israel, but was, instead, an internationally-known seer and sorcerer of the gods. This article will not only detail for you the evidence for such a conclusion but will also unveil some attributes that show up in our own lives. Attributes we need to avoid at all costs.
So here is the context: The children of Israel were making their way through the Promised Land and were destroying every army that was in their way. With Yahweh on their side, they could not be beat, no matter what the odds. In Numbers 22, after they had utterly destroyed the Amorites, Balak, the king of Moab, was scared sheepless and tried to pull a fast one on them by hiring a prophet of God to curse the Israelites. That prophet was Balaam of Pethor.
Have you ever been at a place in your life where you felt like someone was intentionally trying to hurt you, to curse you? Have you ever felt like they were going out of their way to cause you misery? What do we do when we are at a place so low that we just don't know what to do or how to move on? We've all been there at one time or another and this week's Torah Portion gives us tremendous insight into how the spiritual world operates, giving us tremendous hope for our futures in Him.