Numbers 22:1-20 – Balaam Would Fit Right In Today With “All Roads Lead To Heaven”

Posted: October 8, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Numbers 22:1-20

Balak Sends for Balaam

All roads lead to heaven. Your beliefs work for you and that’s alright with me as long as your beliefs don’t infringe on what I believe. Believe in Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, they are all the same. As long as you believe in something! This is the way we talk today. We combine the belief systems of all religions. You see it everywhere. We don’t talk about God anymore. We talk about the universe. The universe is god. We pride ourselves in being tolerant of all belief systems. The cry of tolerance echoes through the land. As John Funk said in his article, The Religion of Tolerance,

 

“Tolerance has become a very powerful word in the common vernacular and the idea it conveys is that society will grant each individual the opportunity to experience life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without the burdens imposed by bias, discrimination or societal condemnation.  It is believed, or at least propagated, that the lifting of these barriers to personal development will result in the advancement of mankind not just on a personal level but also on a societal level.  Without the artificial guidelines imposed by intolerance, people will be healthier and happier.  At least that is what we are told is the truth.”

 

What we have is a society where anything and everything goes. There are no moral absolutes and everything is relative. This campaign of secular relativism has been successful. What I do is good for me and you have no right to tell me what I am doing is wrong. What were once considered sinful behaviors are now loosed to operate out in the open and to be glorified as us finally getting to the point of human development where everybody can be what they want to be. We pick and choose from the Bible what we want to believe. We pick and choose from the Koran what we want to believe. We blend in eastern mysticism and Hinduism. We throw in a dash of Buddhism and we have the world we want to live in. We now live in an age where we believe in ourselves and use bits and pieces of religions to support our take on life. We mix and match religious thought to suit our needs just like a woman standing in her closet deciding what killer outfit she wants to wear today. In the name of tolerance, anything goes and there is nothing out of bounds. If anyone stands against this tide, they are considered old fashion, bigoted, and Archie Bunker dinosaurs in the high-tech age.

 

We have made ourselves god and we determine what is right and what is wrong not some external force. We decide on what is acceptable and what is not. We do that on an individual basis now. Therefore, what is good for me is good for me and leave me alone about it. I don’t judge you and you don’t judge me. It all sounds really good does it not? I determine what’s right for me in the privacy of my video game, computer-assisted world. As long as I don’t hurt you then we’re OK, right? And vice versa? That means as long as I don’t infringe upon your rights to express yourself, I can believe as I choose and I define what is acceptable and what is not. As well, as long as I do no harm to the people and the world around me and do more good than bad, I will go to whatever is my reward in the post-earthly existence. We don’t want to call it heaven or nirvana because that might offend. So, we go to some higher positive existence after death when we have been more good than bad. There is no hell because that would be judgmental. All of us go to his positive energy afterlife. Hell is old-fashioned (and even we Christ followers shun away from preaching it or discussing it) because it means that some of us did more bad than good and we just cannot believe that in our modern age of tolerance. How can a person who means no harm by their actions be condemned to a place of eternal pain? We want a more neat and tidy world. Reincarnation is appealing in this sense because it provides some sort of universally guided, impersonal justice system where our next life is governed by how much more good than bad we did or vice versa. There is no permanent justice in our belief systems of today.

 

It was this thought of mixing and matching belief systems, dabbing in divination and God at the same time, the ancient Middle Eastern version of today’s world that came to mind when I read today’s passage, Numbers 22:1-20. Let’s read it together now:

 

22 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.

 

2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.

 

4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”

 

So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:

 

“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6 Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”

 

7 The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.

 

8 “Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.

 

9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”

 

10 Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: 11 ‘A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.’”

 

12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”

 

13 The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”

 

14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

 

15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16 They came to Balaam and said:

 

“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”

 

18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.”

 

20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”

 

There is enough negative press for Balaam within the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 23 and Joshua 13) to know that Balaam, though seen almost in a positive light here, comes to a just end. Even the New Testament speaks negatively of Balaam (see 2 Peter 2, Jude 1). Here, he is almost seen positively, but he is seeking self-gain in all of it. He is doing what is best for Balaam. He is mixing and matching belief systems to suit himself. Sound familiar? Balaam reminds me of the world we live in now. Balaam wants a little of the Jewish God and little bit of his beliefs in divination. Whatever will work out best for his desires! It reminds of that classic line from Talladega Nights where Ricky Bobby says, “Help me Jesus! Help me Jewish God! Help me Allah! AAAAAHHH! Help me Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft on me to get the fire off me!”

 

That is the world we live in now. Balaam would fit right in. Mixing and matching to suit ourselves. Believing in whatever is most advantageous to our desires. Morality on a sliding scale of today would suit Balaam just fine. It is all just Satan lying to us. More good than bad and go to heaven or whatever your perfect afterlife may be called. It sounds appealing. It is appealing. It takes all the pressure off. Without moral absolutes, I can rationalize away my transgressions against universal good and minimize them while I glorify my self-righteous nature. We control and barter out the value of our transgressions against an impersonal universe, the universe god, that is simply an impersonal ledger of rights and wrongs. We negotiate away our bad deeds through justifications and explanations. Sounds like us today, right?

 

The New Age amalgamation of beliefs plays right into Satan’s hands. We are drawn away from God to believing in ourselves. There is ample evidence that man is sinful and when left to his own devices that we will spiral out of control. We are sinners, plain and simple and there is no amount of extra good that we can do to replace our innate badness. As CARM.org says,

 

“The Bible has much to say about the nature of man, the world, purpose, truth, morality, etc., and so does the world. More often than not, the secular world view is in conflict with the biblical one.  For example: Where the world asserts that man evolved, the Bible says he was created and ultimately responsible to God.  Where the world says that morals are relative, the Bible says they are absolute.  Where the world says that there is no need of salvation and redemption, the Bible clearly states that all people are in need of deliverance from their sin.  The contrast is obvious and profound.  Both cannot be true.”

 

The truth is that there is a God. He is holy, perfect and pure. He reigns over the universe He created. He created the laws that govern how the universe works and He created the Laws of our we should live in relation to Him and one another. He requires perfect holiness for us to abide in His presence forever in heaven. We, however and realistically, have failed to keep his commands because we cannot by nature be holy 100% of the time for our entire lives. That is what is required, 100% holiness all the time for a lifetime. We are incapable of that. We are sinners. When we commit our very first sin, whether it be in thought or deed, we are immediately disqualified from heaven. Done. That’s it. It’s over. Not to mention the lifetime of unholy thoughts and acts of sin that we commit daily each and every day of our lives. We are done. We are condemned to hell by our own sins. We are not perfect and never can be. We need an intervention if we can even remotely think of going to heaven. We need the perfection of Jesus Christ. Jesus reconciles us to the Father through His perfect, sinless life which was sacrificed on our behalf. God poured out his wrath against sin, all sin of all time, against Jesus on that cross that day. It is up to us to have the faith to believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and that His sacrifice on the cross was for our sins. He paid the price for the sure judgment that is to come for our sins in the absence of our belief in Jesus Christ. That is the truth that is eternal and not subject to moral relativism. This truth will stand regardless of how much man tries to discount it and put himself in charge of his own destiny.

 

There will be a reconciliation of all this moral relativism when the earth’s history is drawn to a close by its Creator. Are you willing to be blinded by secularism and get it wrong when that day comes? Are you willing to bet your eternity on it? Regardless of our current moral relativism, the truth of God has stood for eternity. Are you saying that it’s all wrong now? What has been universally true for eternity is now false and the product of a non-reasoned mind? Wow. We will find out at our own deaths or when Jesus returns whether we believed in mystery and you all of a sudden have a hold on the truth? I think I will take my chances with the truths of the Bible and my belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for my sins and who arose from the dead to give me evidence of a hope and future.

 

Amen and Amen.

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