I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. (Numbers 24:17)
These are the true words of a false prophet, false to himself and the principles of truth; but the Spirit of God came overwhelmingly upon Balaam and he spoke the truth. He predicted the rise of the Star of Jacob, even the Lord Jesus Christ.
How sad it is to have a part in the work and Word of God and then depart from it!
It has been said that, “Anyone who sells hIs hope of eternal life for any price that earth has to offer sells out too cheap, and he who exchanges the greatest of treasures of earth for the true riches makes the best of bargains. Poor Balaam! He was one of those the Prophet Jeremiah spoke of – who having eyes, see not (Jer. 5:21). In his case gold hid God.
A man once visited Robert Hall, the great English Baptist minister, to complain of some statements he had made in a sermon. It was evident that man was in bondage to the love of money. Hall opened his Bible, found the name of God, and while pointing to God’s name asked, “Can you see that? “Certainly,” replied the man. Then the preacher took the smallest coin he had and placed it over the word. “Can you see it now?” he asked. The man understood and, by God’s grace, his spiritual sight was restored.
James Lowell wrote of the choice we each must make in like this:
Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.
For each of us the item may be different, the choice may take a different form – lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life, it could even be some combination of the three. But the result is still the same – God is blotted out.
I encourage you this month to make the right choice, and join the Psalmist in this prayer – Help us, O God of our salvation … and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake. (Ps. 79:9)