“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.” Numbers 25:1-3 KJV.
“Balak still flattered himself with the vain hope that God was subject to variation, like man. Balaam informs him that God will never be induced to break his word, or alter his purpose concerning Israel, and that it is in vain for him to hope to obtain a curse for his people, or to expect him to reverse the blessing he has promised to them; and no enchantment or curse uttered by a diviner could have the least influence upon that nation that has the protection of Omnipotence.
Balaam had wished to appear to be favorable to Balak, and had permitted him to be deceived, and to think that he used superstitious ceremonies and enchantments when he besought the Lord. But as he followed the command given him of God, he grew bolder in proportion as he obeyed the divine impulse, and he laid aside his pretended conjuration, and, looking toward the encampment of the Israelites, he beholds them all encamped in perfect order, under their respective standards, at a distance from the tabernacle. Balaam was permitted to behold the glorious manifestation of God’s presence, overshadowing, protecting, and guiding, the tabernacle. He was filled with admiration at the sublime scene. He opened his parable with all the dignity of a true prophet of God. His prophetic words are these: ‘How goodly are thy tents, 0 Jacob, and thy tabernacles, 0 Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath, as it were, the strength of a unicorn. He shall eat up the nations, his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion. Who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee. And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together. And Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.’
The Moabites understood the import of the prophetic words of Balaam—that the Israelites, after conquering the Canaanites, should settle in their land, and all attempts to subdue them would be of no more avail than for a feeble beast to arouse the lion out of his den. Balaam told Balak that he would inform him what the Israelites should do to his people at a later period. The Lord unfolded the future before Balaam, and permitted events which would occur to pass before his sight, that the Moabites should understand that Israel should finally triumph. As Balaam prophetically rehearsed the future to Balak and his princes, he was struck with amazement at the future display of God’s power.
After Balaam had returned to his place, and the controlling influence of God’s Spirit had left him, his covetousness, which had not been overcome, but merely held in check, prevailed. He could think of nothing but the reward and promotion to honor which he might have received of Balak, until he was willing to resort to any means to obtain that which he desired. Balaam knew that the prosperity of Israel depended upon their observance of the law of God; and that there was no way to bring a curse upon them but by seducing them to transgression. He decided to secure to himself Balak’s reward and the promotion he desired, by advising the Moabites what course to pursue to bring the curse upon Israel. He counseled Balak to proclaim an idolatrous feast in honor of their idol gods, and he would persuade the Israelites to attend, that they might be delighted with the music; and then the most beautiful Midianitish women should entice the Israelites to transgress the law of God, and corrupt themselves, and also influence them to offer sacrifice to idols. This satanic counsel succeeded too well. Many of the Israelites were persuaded by Balaam, because they regarded him as a prophet of God, to join him, and mix with that idolatrous people, and engage with him in idolatry and fornication.
‘And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor; and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor.’ Moses commanded the judges of the people to execute the punishment of God against those who had transgressed, and hang the heads of the transgressors up before the Lord, to cause Israel to fear to follow their example. The Lord commanded Moses to vex the Midianites, and smite them, because they had vexed Israel with their wiles, wherewith they had beguiled them to transgress the commandments of God.” EGW, SOP, Vol 1, 1870, pp. 324-327.
A Delightful Sabbath day! We will continue our study of Revelation 15 via Zoom today at 11am EST (US Eastern Standard Time).
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