Numbers 31: We Are Responsible for Our Choices
I was kind of surprised to find a little bit more about Balaam in Numbers 31 (although I guess that he is referenced a few more times in the future). I thought we were done with the story.
Num 31:6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.
Num 31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
Num 31:8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
This was the end of Balaam, and I guess it has been quite a journey. If you are reading along with me, you will remember all of the back story, but, in summary, he had to keep blessing Israel even though his boss wanted him to say anything else.
That is what I found particularly interesting about Balaam.
Even though he was not an Israelite, he had the opportunity to hear directly from God, but he still hung out with bad company. He wanted to stay with the enemies of Israel, and that is ultimately what did him in.
You know the old phrase that talks about getting burned when you play with fire. In a way, Balaam continued keeping dangerous company, and eventually it caught up to him.
He himself had prophesied the destruction of parts of Moab in Numbers 24:17, and we found out that the Moabites and the Midianites were in a pretty tight alliance through Numbers 22. Consequently, it doesn’t take an awful lot of deduction to realize that there might be problems for Midian as well. Being a friend of an enemy generally makes you an enemy as well.
God will always forgive us when we mess up, and I don’t want to discount that at all. However, sometimes we do make choices that put us in situations where bad things might happen. They don’t always result in death, but we have all made choices that have hurt other people or our relationship with them.
We need to make sure that we are watching our decisions. Every day, we are faced with thousands of them, and we do have to face the consequences of those decisions. Balaam apparently made the decision to ignore his own warning and live with people who he knew would be conquered by Israel. Whether that decision was the result of a lack of wisdom or a lack of faith, he eventually had to be responsible for what he had chosen.
I hope we choose to follow God.