(April 21, 2014)
Balaam is a fascinating character in the Bible. Aside from the more fantastical elements of the story (and, as I believe in a risen Christ and miracles in general, I have little difficulty swallowing a talking Donkey), the remainder of the story has lessons to be learned. For example, there was a prophet who was not of Israel, even at this time.
But more interesting than that is the fact that Balaam was an example of a prophet who tried to be too worldly. God had taught the Israelites not to destroy Moab – so the Moabites were in no danger. And yet, Balaam was too frightened or too covetous of his position to communicate with Balak’s princes the truth. Had he done so, would Moab have sued for peace? Would there be no conflict? Would Moab have been blessed (albeit to a lesser amount)? Balaam’s weakness served no one in this circumstance, and it is sadly not surprising to realize that Balaam ultimately fell away into idolatry/