“She pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot…”
– Numbers 22:25
Balaam was considered a heathen prophet who is said to have some knowledge of the true God. It is thought that he was a well-known diviner throughout the land. He was so renowned that he caught the attention of Balak, king of the Moabites. King Balak would attempt to seduce Balaam into cursing Israel even though God told Balaam not to go and to never curse them because they are a blessed people.
Balaam joins an exclusive fraternity comprised of a unique group of prophets. “Balaam stands out in the selectest rank of those patriarchs and princes,” writes Alexander Whyte, “those prophets and priests, who were raised up outside of the house of Israel in order that men might nowhere be left to live without a divine witness. To keep to the Old Testament – Melchizedek, and Jethro, and Balaam, and Job were all such divine witnesses to the profane lands in which they lived.”
Balaam would go on to pray some of the most beautiful prayers and even proclaim prophecies of Jesus. It is God’s words through Balaam that we receive scripture so often quoted: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Regarding our Savior Jesus, Balaam prophecied, “I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh. There shall come a star out of Jacob, and Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and out of Jacob shall come He that shall have the dominion.” Elegant words from a man temporarily endued by the Holy Spirit.
Although God would use Balaam’s life to bless the Nation of Israel for a time, the old ways of this soothsayer would show up again, overtake him, and destroy his life. Balaam was driven by lust and greed, and he eventually would cause Israel to enter into these same sins. What seemed like a small sin in his life at one time grew into the misleading of an entire nation. The donkey used to crush Balaam’s foot should have been his final wake-up call. It should have reminded him that God told him not to go.
Has God spoken to you about something in your life? Is it a direction you are headed in that you know in your heart and conscience that he has told you not to go? Maybe God has allowed something in your life to cause you to pause. If so, it would be best to listen. He may be keeping you from destroying your life.