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The Teaching of Balaam

Words of Faith Final

The Teaching of Balaam

Words of Faith 8-3-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Numbers 25

    While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, [2] who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. [3] So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord's anger burned against them.

    [4] The Lord said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord's fierce anger may turn away from Israel."

    [5] So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor."


       The story of the sorcerer Balaam and the talking donkey was not over yet.  God had gone to tremendous effort and design to protect the Israelites from any “curse-for-hire” plot. God intervened when Balak plotted against Israel.  The sorcerer Balaam was only able to utter blessing after blessing upon the Israelites. 

       What happened next?  Israel was seduced by the sexual immorality and idolatry of the Moabites!  We find out later in Scripture that this plot came at the advice of Balaam!  Yes, the same Balaam who talked with the donkey on the road, then encountered the angel of the Lord and then prophesied the Word of the Lord. His final mercenary trick was to advise Balak that the Israelites could be seduced into immorality.  "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor…"  (Numbers 31:16).

        In the Revelation of Christ to John, Jesus declared to the church at Pergamum--  “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:14).  Clearly, Jesus saw this “teaching of Balaam” as an enemy of His Body, the church. 

         What exactly is the "teaching of Balaam"?  It is the strategy to seduce and defeat God's people by whatever means necessary. Balaam could not defeat Israel by cursing her, so he advised seducing her. The enticement was idolatry and sexual immorality.  

         Apparently, something similar occurred in the first-century church at Ephesus and Pergamum.  A group called the Nicolaitans disobeyed the command issued to the Gentile churches to refrain from eating "things sacrificed to idols" (Acts 15:29). This caused a laxity and temptation to slide into idolatry and immorality.

         What do we learn from this? 

         First, as part of the body of Christ, we must know there is a battle that goes on against the people of God.  That battle will not involve the "cursing" of God's people because God simply will not allow such a thing.  But this does not mean that God’s people cannot be seduced. 

         Scripture is clear that “each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15). 

        We still contend with the sinful nature, the flesh.  The war against the church is not one of curses and incantations. It is one of seduction by idolatry and sexual immorality.

         The war is on against the church today with the temptation to go the way of the world and current culture trends on every level. There is a temptation to make the world’s definition of success our own.  There is a temptation to worship materialism, make money, and accumulate property as the defining value of the church.  There is a temptation to bless and ordain sexual immorality as “normal” within the church's life and ministry.  

         In many mainline churches today, cohabitation is openly accepted among members. Premarital sexual activity is assumed and even encouraged. Homosexual behavior is viewed as normal, and same-sex unions are blessed. Immoral leaders are ordained and praised as “courageous.”  The teaching of Balaam is very much at work today in the church.

          Love should be openly extended to all who come to hear the Word and respond to the Gospel. We all respond by confession of our sin and repentance. For us, personally, there is the need to realize that the world will try to seduce us away from the pure relationship with God planned for us.  We must be on guard against these pagan seductions.  The true church must refuse to be seduced.


            Cleanse me this day, O God.  Keep me from the temptations of idolatry and immorality.  Cleanse Your church, O God, by Your Spirit and grace.  Keep me close to You.  Help me to walk in Your ways all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ name.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2004, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.