Balaam's Four Prophecies

Prophecy Number Two: Numbers 23:18-24

In the first prophecy God gave through Balaam (THE VINEYARD OCTOBER 1999), we noted that it was verbal inspiration recorded – it was God who put the word into Balaam's mouth: "Then the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, 'Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak'" (Numbers 23:5).

So here again as we come to this second prophecy we note that it was God who told Balaam what words to speak to King Balak of Moab.

"Then the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, 'Go back to Balak, and thus you shall speak'" (23:16).

The overall picture we have in this further prophecy is that God will allow no one to punish Israel without His specific permission; if it is anyone who is going to punish His people it will be God Himself or the one whom He designates as in the case of Nebuchnezzar of Babylon.

But it is clear that Israel will be a pardoned nation when God finally blesses His people with His eternal and complete salvation. In the meantime Balaam is forced to say to Balak who was so desperate for Israel's cursing: "Behold, I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot reverse it."

It certainly was not in the power of Balak to punish Israel, or even to resist them, and neither was it in the power of Balaam to curse Israel. It was God who was dealing with the situation, and He was making it known to this heathen king of the accursed Moabite nation that he would have no power over God's people.

God is making it clear in this Scripture that He will pardon His people; He will restore them completely, spiritually, which we know will occur only when they are regenerated and brought back into fellowship with their God. This salvation is assured by:-

  1. TheCharacter of God

"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, tht he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?" (23:19).

We surely know the answer to these rhetorical questions; we remember all His wonderful promises, and the covenant He made with Abraham, as He assured him of His dependability:

"Then . . . the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, 'By myself I have sworn . . . '" (Genesis 22:16), and also in the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament: "For when God made a promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself . . . " (6:13).

Indeed amidst all the evidences in the Bible of God's promises and covenants with the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we can fasten on to this truth: "He has remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded for a thousand generations" (Psalm 105:8). Therefore the salvation of the nation of Israel is assured, first and foremost by the character of God.

  1. The Grace of God

"He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has he seen wickedness in Israel. The LORD his God is with him . . . and the shout of a King is among them." When Balaam uttered this word at God's command he was observing the "tents" and "dwellings" of Israel as the people were poised to enter their inheritance in the promised land. The rebels had all perished in the wilderness over a forty year period; rebellion had been purged out, and the prople were to be blessed in Canaan. No wonder Balaam did not observe "iniquity in Jacob" nor "wickness in Israel."

We see God's purposes further in Ezekiel 36 and Jeremiah 31 – God restoring Israel spiritually, and this by His wonderful grace. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgements and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26,27).

"I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:33,34).

  1. The Power of God

"God brought them out of Egypt; he has strength like a wild ox. For there is no sorcery against Jacob, nor is there any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, 'Oh, look what God has done!'" (Numbers 23:22,23)

The God of Israel is omnipotent; He is able to fulfil all His promises. Egypt's Pharaoh tried to thwart Him and failed; many other kings and dictators down through the centuries have tried to do the same, but they have failed. This will be the fate of all who stand in the way of His purposes for Israel.

In our present day Israel has declared that Jerusalem is the eternal, indivisible capital of the Jewish State, but there will come a day according to the prophet Zechariah when "it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it . . .

"It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (12:3,9). God's power will surely be demonstrated against the power of the nations that are against Him, and out of it all, and the suffering of His people Israel, called "the time of Jacob's trouble" God's power will be even more convincingly shown.

"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look to me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for him as for an only son, and grieve for him as one grieves for a first-born" (Zechariah 12:10).

  1. The Triumph of God

We return to Balaam's prophecy, and we read: "Look, a people rises like a lioness, and lifts himself up like a lion; it shall not lie down until it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain" (Numbers 23:24). O, the great triumph of God through His people! The time is coming when Israel will become a great and invincible nation, when the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Messiah, will take over and reign in righteousness.

This was promised to Mary (Miriam) by the angel (Gabriel) when he said to her: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus (Yeshua).

"He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:30-33).

This will be fulfilled in God's own time, along with all His other wonderful promises and glorious covenants.

NEXT: Prophecy Number Three: Numbers 24:5-9