Numbers 22:5, Pethor…by the river. Balaam was from the land of Pethor, which is “by the River.” This is a reference to the Euphrates River, the great river of Babylon (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 857). Thus Balaam was a Babylonian, although he may have been a transplanted Edomite according to some Jewish scholars (see The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Commentary on Gen 36:32).
One of the aspects of Babylon of the last days is her religious system (Rev 13:11ff) the head of which is the false prophet (Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). The Babylonian religious system of the end days is a blend of both good and evil (reminiscent of the tree by that name in Eden from which the serpent beguiled Adam and Eve away from YHVH’s path of truth and righteousness into a false religious system).
In the last days, YHVH is calling his people out of that false religious system (Rev 18:4) with its false prophets who prophesy a mixture of good and evil.
Is not modern traditional Christianity a mixture of good and evil, truth and error (i.e. doctrines and traditions of men along with some paganism mixed in)? Reflect on the implications of this. To what degree have you heeded YHVH’s call to “come out of her”—namely, any man-made religious or church systems that has components that are contrary to the Word of Elohim?
Like many in mainstream Christianity, the Scriptures seems to indicate that Balaam had some knowledge of the truth of YHVH, but he refused to wholeheartedly submit to YHVH’s word and will (2 Pet 2:15).
Let us not forget Yeshua’s warning about false prophets arising in the last days who might deceive the very elect (Matt 24:24).
Numbers 22:10ff, Crossing over. Many carnal people—especially those playing at religion—want to be like YHVH’s saints, and to be the recipients of the blessings of Israel, and to be numbered among YHVH’s chosen, but few want to walk the difficult walk of holiness and righteousness required to receive these blessings and privileges. These may very well be the spiritual tares that surreptitiously exist along side the saints within their congregations.
Many people will “court YHVH” by getting as close to him as possible without actually crossing over that spiritual river that divides the land of Israel from the rest of the world. Those who actually cross over become an Ivrit or a Hebrew—a word which means “to cross over.” Abraham was one who crossed over. He forsook Babylon and crossed over the Euphrates and Jordan Rivers in his journey westward en route to the Promised Land as he followed YHVH’s leading. He was the first Hebrew (Ivrit) or “one who crossed over.”
Crossing over means going from being a worldly Babylonian to becoming the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16; Eph 2:11–13) and a child of Abraham (Gal 3:29). It also means surrendering one’s life totally to the Elohim of the Hebrews who is YHVH.
The sacrifice of crossing over is too great for most people to make and requires the payment price of a high price—the death of self, pride, one’s own will and perhaps a change in lifestyle and the loss of one’s friends and status in the world. To leave the world or spiritual Babylon and to cross over the Jordan River to YHVH’s side and come into the land of Israel as a spiritual Hebrew means that the fame and fortune that this world has to offer must be laid aside and one must become a servant-slave of YHVH. Moreover, it means embracing YHVH’s Torah as the law of life—Elohim’s instructions in righteousness.
Balaam couldn’t cross over all the way. He still preferred the riches and fame Babylon had to offer. He was willful, carnal and greedy (Jude 11).
Many religious game-players or cultural Christians in the mainstream church are like Balaam. They want the Savior part of Yeshua, but not the Lord part. How serious are you about serving YHVH?
The Scriptures say of the end-times saints that they loved not their lives unto death (Rev 12:11). Paul declares that followers of Yeshua must become “living sacrifices” in the service of YHVH (Rom 12:1). Yeshua gave his very life for you.
Are you holding back some of your life for him? Do the cares of this world, the desire for pleasures, material goods, money, entertainments or acclaim still have a grip on your heart? Are they preventing you from moving into your spiritual calling and destiny—to truly walk by faith in obedience to YHVH?
Numbers 22:11–12, Dealing with curses from the enemy. Make no mistake about it, false prophets are neither the friends of YHVH nor his people. They are grievous wolves who hate YHVH’s people and want their total destruction. For example, in verse 11 Balak asks Balaam to pronounce a mild curse (arah) on Israel that would result simply in their being driven away, not on their being destroyed. But then notice in verse 17 how Balak employs a much stronger Hebrew expression (kavah) to curse Israel implying their total destruction, thus indicating Balaam’s hatred for Israel (and his contempt for YHVH). In verse 12, YHVH uses the milder term to let Balaam know that even the mildest curse would not prevail against his people (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 858). Do you walk so closely to YHVH in relationship with Yeshua and in his righteousness that you are protected from even the mildest curse directed at you from the enemy? Do you stay under the blood of Yeshua so that no spiritual darts of Satan can pierce your spiritual armor (Eph 6:16; Rev 12:11)? Do you take refuge perpetually under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty (Ps 91:1, 4)? How does the child of YHVH do this every day? Proverbs 26:2 states, “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” Do you have any “spiritual doors” open so that the Evil One has “legal” entrance into your life to attack you? The solution to the problem is to repent by turning from sin and then turn to Yeshua! Obey his Word so that you do not open yourself up to the curses for disobedience as mentioned in Deuteronomy 28.
Numbers 22:21–22, A willful, selfish manipulator. Balaam was willful, greedy, arrogant, rebellious and presumptuous in the face of YHVH’s revealed will. Balaam was attempting to manipulate YHVH through soulish means for his personal gain, but YHVH always has the upper hand.
YHVH Elohim is sovereign over the affairs of men regardless of men’s machinations. The will of YHVH cannot be manipulated or bent to accommodate men’s selfish ambitions. After all, how can man—a created being—hope to play mind games with the Sovereign Creator of the universe and win? In the end, man will be humbled and YHVH will be exalted as was the case with Balaam—an arrogant and internationally acclaimed “prophet.” He was made to look like a fool through a talking donkey and all this occurred in front of the accompanying delegation of Moabite leaders.
It was evident to all that Balaam was but a pawn in the hands of YHVH, and that if YHVH could make a brute beast speak, then he was certainly capable of putting his words into the mouth of mortal man, albeit a sorcerer.
What lessons can we learn here? Is it wise to toy with or tempt Elohim or try to manipulate him to fit our will? How often do we attempt to bend his will to fit our own? How often do we attempt to push forth our own carnal and selfish agendas, and then attempt to convince ourselves and others that it is the will of YHVH? What are the end results? How many people go through life on this basis and never mature, since they continually act like wilful, bratty and rebellious children who always demand their own way and refuse to grow up spiritually? They have never learned to distinguish between their own carnal will and that of the Almighty.
The good news is that when we finally submit to YHVH and let go of our own selfish agendas, it is then that we start to have the breakthroughs in our lives and begin to experience his joy, shalom and victory not to mention an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Numbers 22:21ff, Angel of YHVH. This term is used several times in these verses. The word angel here is a misnomer. It is the Hebrew word malak, which means “messenger.” It can refer to an earthly messenger or a heavenly messenger such as an angel sent from YHVH. But when the term Angel/Messenger of YHVH/Elohim is used in the Scriptures, in many this “Messenger” is presented as being equivalent to YHVH himself. (See Gen 31:11, 13; Exod 3:2, 14; Judg 6:12–24.) Who was that “Angel”? Stephen makes reference to this “Angel” in Acts 7:35. Now compare this verse with who he says the “Angel” of YHVH is in verses 37 and 38.
Numbers 22:38, The word that Elohim puts in my mouth. Balaam claimed to hear the voice of YHVH, yet his claims and the reality of the facts were two different things. YHVH makes a mockery of Balaam’s claims in front of the Moabite delegation when the lowly she-donkey is able to discern the presence of the Messenger of YHVH and Balaam is not (at least until YHVH opens his eyes). How many times have you encountered people who claim to hear from “the LORD,” yet on closer examination they have not heard from YHVH, for the fruits of their lives and ministry do not verify their claims? Be wary of such people who announce to others their super-spirituality and make great claims about their supposed inside track with YHVH. Ask yourself: what do these people really want and what are their hidden agendas? What are they trying to gain for themselves or trying to cover up? Are they possibly, like Balaam, trying to control and influence others through supposed “words from the Lord” for their own selfish motives?