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“. . . They hired Balaam son of Beor from Peor in Aram Naharaim

to pronounce a curse on you.

However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam

but turned the curse into a blessing for you,

because the Lord you God loves you.”

Deuteronomy 23:4-5


The school year started.  Test design is one skill comprising the fine art of teaching.  If a test is too difficult, strong students will fail.  Conversely, if a test is too easy, poor students will pass.


God tested me, and I failed.  I read Numbers 22-24.  The King of Moab, Balak, asked Balaam to curse Israel, and Balaam refused.  1 John tells us that we should test the spirits to make sure that they’re of God (4:1).  Balaam passed the “John” test, because he said, “Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold.  I could not do anything great or small beyond the command of the Lord my God” (Nu. 22:18).  He acknowledged God, and God’s authority over him.   So I was taken aback by God’s anger at Balaam.  I had to re-take this test by reading more closely and thinking more deeply.


Why were Balak & Balaam even talking in the first place?  I’ve yet to read about an extended exchange between a prophet of God & an enemy of God’s people.  Yet, Balak & Balaam had a conversation that lasted a few days.  That’s the 1st red flag I missed.  The second was, after being told that God has blessed Israel (Nu 22:12), why did Balaam feel the need to try to “find out what else the Lord will tell me” (v. 19)?  Apparently, Balak upped the ante by offering Balaam enough money to make him blink.  Balaam wanted God to tell him something different so that he could collect his money.  Other books of the Bible refer to Balaam’s real motives (Deut. 23:4-5, Joshua 13:22, II Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11).  This exercise in reading all the different references to Balaam in the Bible also reinforced the importance of getting the whole picture of a person.


The experience also made me wonder, “Who are the Balaam’s in my life?”  I let people fool me with their talk.  Everything they said was Bible-based & God-honoring, so I ignored the red-flags that should have told me where their hearts really were.  They were talking the talk, but not walking the walk.  Through the grace of God, now I know better.


“They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.”

II Peter 2:15



BOW is my first experience in blogging, and my writing has undergone an evolution since I started. I use If I Knew Then What I Know Now to think aloud about my Christian walk. When you read it, my hope is that WE (the BOW community & friends) then discuss how to apply God's word into our everyday lives in a practical manner. As Christian lay-theologians, we'll talk about our world, and how we can be in it but not of it. So whatever your thoughts are about what you read, PLEASE share.
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