Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Doctrines Of Life


Numbers 22 KJV
1  And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.
2  And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.
3  And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.
4  And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.
5  He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:
6  Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.
7  And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.

The story … The Prophet; The Ass; The Angel; & The King

verse 9: And Balaam said to God … (there is a difference between what we say to God and what God might say back to us!)

12  And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.

13 …for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.

15  And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.

Balak sent more numerous and more honorable  … reconsider your promotion and all the honor you be given …

18  … I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God …

Balaam declared that no matter what, he could not go against the Word of God.

But … wait right here while I go and ask God again – maybe He will let me go this time, seeing as how I have this chance to be rich and famous.

Psalms 81
11  But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
12  So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

There is such a danger in going to God over and over again trying to get Him to support your selfish pursuits which violate His known Word … the danger is – He might just tell you to go ahead with your plans …

Ezekiel 14
When a person sets up idols in his own heart and stumblingblocks before his own face, then inquires of the Lord what he should do ... the Lord will answer him according to the multitude of his idols.

Well, this is exactly what happened to Balaam – God allowed him to walk in the delusion of his own counsel. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
         * the voice of God will sound like the voice of your idols
         * you cannot tell the difference
         * God will confirm your delusion
God told Balaam that if the men came to call him again, go ahead and go with them but do not do anything that I don’t want you to do … so Balaam got up early, saddled his donkey and went with them.

Numbers 22:22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

Explain the encounters between the angel and the ass:
·       v. 23 – the ass turned out of the way
·       v. 25 – the ass dodged and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall
·       v. 27 – the ass ducked down under the angel’s sword

How is it that you can get yourself in such a fix that God’s angels are trying to kill you and your only friend in the whole world is an ass?

Numbers 22:32  And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:

After all of this Balaam misses the big picture, the whole boat! Evidently Balaam was not the sharpest knife in the drawer … Balaam agrees to quit but not to change – however – the angel does not alter the word of God to Balaam. From that time forth the only right thing Balaam does is in what he speaks, not in what he is, not in what he wants, not in what he ultimately does and causes to be done … but – he has his speech down right!

Balaam is the epitome of someone who is committed to their singular focus and selfish pursuits. He somehow imagines that he is going to be alright if he does not “technically” disobey God.

“Technically” speaking, Balaam did not disobey the strict word of Almighty God or the angel. However, God is not the One with whom you wish to mince words or parse intentions. Balaam knew what God meant … and in the end, there is no playing dumb with God – not even if you are really dumb …

Chapter 22 ends and chapter 23 begins with King Balak and the Prophet Balaam making offerings, building altars and sacrificing oxen and rams to God.

Sacrifice won’t change the Word of God …

Sacrifice all you want but you’re still not going to change the Word of God.

Three times Balaam stood high above the Children of God and three times Balaam spoke blessings, including the much quoted:

Numbers 23
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
20  Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

This infuriated Balak who said to Balaam: “I was going to promote you and make you great, now you will get nothing … get out of my sight and get back to your place.”

When Balaam realized that doing things God’s way was going to get him nothing for himself – he decided to make an end run … after all … he was not “technically” disobeying God – he said what God said – that’s technically all God and the angel told him to do … other people have a will – can he help it if the Israelites want to go over to Moab … I mean, he is not making them … he’s just offering a little incentive – why not … does God really expect Balaam to not get anything for all his years of service?

Numbers 24:14 … come and I will advise you …

The rest of the story: You know, Balaam had a problem … he loved money! This is how the New Testament remembers Balaam:

Jude 11  Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

1.  The Error of Balaam

1 Peter 2:15  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2.  The Way of Balaam

Revelation 2:14  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

3.  The Doctrine of Balaam

1 Timothy 4:16 says that we must not only take heed to ourselves but also to the doctrine, continue in them to save yourself and those who follow you. Even though Balaam did not “technically” curse the Israelites, nonetheless he did teach Balak how to get the Israelites to remove themselves from the blessings of God. Neither Balak nor Balaam had clean hands or pure hearts before the Lord, although neither one technically disobeyed God.

Balaam only taught Balak how to cast a stumbling block, present a temptation … enticements … what some might even call an opportunity – after all … it was the Israelites who made their individual choices to depart from God’s will for their lives … Balaam claimed he had obeyed the Lord and no doubt Balak paid handsomely for Balaam’s counsel.

·       Technically, Balaam did not disobey God’s Word
·       Technically, Jonah never told God no
·       Technically, Simon (Acts 8) only wanted more of the Holy Spirit
·       Technically, Judas only did what Jesus encouraged him to do

Technically won’t cut it with God … it’s the motivation of the heart …

Three concluding thoughts:
1.   Error unchecked, unchallenged and unchanged becomes a way of life
2.   Continuing on the wrong way without repentance promotes doctrines of life
3.   Doctrines of life define us so that the voice of our doctrine becomes the voice of our God

Beware of the idols of life … they can often sound like the voice of God!