“Balaam – The Praying Mantis” (Part #-1) Num. 22:8-9
“And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam. And God came unto Balaam and said, “What men are these with thee?” Num. 22:8-9 KJV.
Balaam is a prophet for hire, or a “Prophet for Profit!” However, God can still use him for His perfect will, plans, pleasure and profit. Amen? “Man proposes, but God disposes; Man devises, but God designs; Man imagines, but God creates; Man plans, but God completes!” God wants Balaam to go to Balak for His glory but Balaam is going for his own personal gain, he is a ‘Prophet for Profit!’ Doesn’t the Bible say, “The LOVE of money is the ROOT of all evil.” Not money in and of itself, money is amoral, it is neither good nor evil, it is the ‘love of it’ that gets men into trouble. Balak the ‘Son of Zippor or Zipper’ is the king of Moab. That name should have thrown up a flag, ‘The son of the sparrow’ a small bird, known for its twittering, and fluttering about.
“Behold there is a people come out of Egypt who cover the face of the earth, come now and curse them for me, perhaps I shall be able to overthrow them and drive them out.” Perhaps, he says in, v. 11; God tells Balaam in v.12, “Don’t Go, and Don’t Curse Them! Because, “They Are Blessed!” v.20; They are My people and I love them, Dt. 7:8. How do you curse something or someone that God has already blessed? You don’t, you can’t, and Balaam is learning that lesson; Why can’t our leaders learn that principle? This dialogue continues between Balaam and God for four chapters, Num. 22-25.
Balaam was a typical hireling prophet much like the ones we have today on T.V. only seeking to market their wares. This is referred to as “The Way of Balaam,” in II Peter 2:15 and characterizes false teachers, “Who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but was rebuked for his iniquity…” The error of Balaam is seen in Jude v.11, where he could see only the natural morality of humanity because he himself was unspiritual, unsaved, and unregenerated. Therefore a holy God seeing evil in Israel, Balaam felt God must curse such a people as the Israelites. Like all false teachers he was blind and ignorant of the higher morality of God’s vicarious atonement, whereby God could be ‘Just and Justifier’ of a believer at the same time, Romans 3:26. The reward Jude talks about in v.11 doesn’t have to be money, it can be popularity, fame, fortune, or just applause to feed your ego and pride. Then there is the “Doctrine of Balaam” seen in Rev. 2:14; He couldn’t curse Israel so he got Balak to corrupt them by getting them to inter-marry Moabite women, commit fornication, and defile their separation from the world, to God. That is what has happened to the church today. The church has united with the world in spiritual un-chastity and you can’t tell the difference anymore. Balaam, whose name means, “not of my people” (Bala-am) the son of Beor (burning);
Or the king of Edom, to Pethor (soothsayer) one who professes to foretell the future, or a mantis, (I hope you are getting the picture!) So, Balaam was a soothsayer, a medium, a fortune-teller, and not one of his people, one of Balak’s or Moses’. He was the son of Beor (burning) and could have been connected to Molech the fire god of the Ammorites or Chemosh the fire god of the Moabites who offered their children alive in the fire.
He is referred to as a “Mantis” in Greek or I guess we could call him “The Praying Mantis” for our blog today, because we are trying to focus on his prayer dialogue with God even though he is not a true believer. You mean unbelievers can pray to God and He will hear them and even answer them? Watch my lips, YES! Psalm 65:2 says, “O Thou Who hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come.” All means all, and that’s all, all means! What about those pagan sailors on Jonah’s ship, did God hear their prayers? YES! Wait till we get to Balaam’s donkey, oi vey! So, we have, “The way of Balaam:” “The error of Balaam;” and “The doctrine of Balaam;” We can sure learn a lot from, ‘The Praying Mantis’ who is not of this people, then where is he from? Or should I spell it “The Preying Mantis?” Webster says a mantis is a diviner or a prophet, and it comes from the Greek.
So, the ‘LORD God in vv. 12-13 tells him, “Don’t Go and Don’t Curse these people because they are blessed;” and he sends Balak’s messengers home. So, Balak sends more messengers, more honorable, and with more treasures, v.15 than the first ones. Balaam answers correctly in v. 18 when he says, “If Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God (YeHoVaH my Elohim) to do less or more.” WOW! Powerful statement, wouldn’t you say? Forget chapters 22-25, don’t write them, just put these words on your ice-box and go home. (If he had ice in his box). It seems in v. 20 something strange happened, it says, “God or a god came to Balaam at night and told him to go; but speak only what I tell you.” Then in v. 22, YeHoVaH God is very angry, in fact He is wroth with Balaam because he went; the word wroth in Hebrew means His nostrils flared out like a stallion in anger pawing the ground! There is a lot of discussion here between God’s ‘Directive Will’ and His ‘Permissive Will.” In other words, ‘Don’t test God!’ Don’t keep asking Him after He has told you His will in a certain matter and revealed it to you. “Don’t keep asking after He has told you, NO!” (That’s one way of looking at this dilemma)
Forty-seven times in ninety-six verses Balaam uses the word YeHoVaH or JeHoVaH the (YHVH), the TETRAGRAMATON, the holiest name of God’s Oneness and Self Existence. He mentions El Shaddai twice, the All Sufficient One, who not only enriches but makes fruitful. Job uses this name 31 times and God introduces this name to Abraham in Gen. 17:1 when He changes his name from Abram to Abraham. He also uses Elyon the ‘Most High God’ possessor of heaven and earth. A name used by Melchizedek in Gen. 14, King of Salem when he met Abraham. He also used ‘Ruach ha Elohim’ the ‘Spirit of God’ referring to the ‘Holy Spirit of God’ the “Ruach ha Kodesh.” Then he talks about;
The ‘Angel of the YeHoVaH’ the messenger or theophany of the LORD which is a Christophany. So, we have the whole Tri-Unity of the God-Head appearing in these three chapters to this soothsayer who uses God’s name in every other verse. Thirteen times (13) we have YeHoVaH, The YHVH, a very special number to God and 11 of those are referring to the Christophany and then 18 times he uses ‘Elohim’ or ‘El.’ Elohim is a plural intensive form but it is singular in meaning and he uses it mainly in chapter 22, ten times. “El, which is singular can mean, god, god like, a mighty one, a false god, a demon, or ‘The One True God,’ so it has many meanings.
Forty-three times we have God or Elohim used in the Bible with a little ‘g’ 43 times! Over 220 times the word Elohim gods is used with a little ‘g’ and who decides this, the translators! Look at Exodus 20:2-3 in the ‘Ten Commandments,’ we have the exact same word ‘Elohim’ translated in v. 2 with a big ‘G’ and in v. 3 with a little ‘g’ and there it is plural in both verses, and the list continues for 260 plus instances. Then you have Exodus 7:1 in the KJV where you have the word Elohim translated with a little ‘god’ but in the NKJV it is translated with a big ‘God.’ Who made that choice, the translators. All I’m saying is it seems strange to me that God or a god shows up in the night and tells Balaam to go in Num. 22:20 after the ‘LORD YeHoVaH’ told him not to go, and we know who that is, no mistaking Him, and He is very angry, wroth in fact, His nostrils are flared out, His wrath was hot, He was really, really angry! Why? v. 12, He said, “Thou Shalt Not Go With Them!” That is pretty plain, pretty pointed! Wouldn’t you say?
So, who is this God, or a god in v. 20 who said, “go with them?” I may be Polish, and not have a doctorate and only have 40+ years of ministry experience, so don’t pay any attention to me, just read His Book, and you tell me who showed up in v. 20 and changed His mind and then did it again in v. 22? Permissive Will vs Directive Will – Go, Don’t Go, Go! I don’t know about you but I would begin to question God’s will period! There is something wrong here or something missing, or something someone isn’t telling us. But to throw the Calvinistic will of God at me to answer this dilemma doesn’t sit well with me or solve anything. Besides, God never gives a direct command that He contradicts! This is either a fickle God who throws Balaam in a pickle barrel about to be slaughtered or it’s a demon disguised as God coming in the night as an angel of light – anyway!… The angel of the YeHoVaH stood in Balaam’s way with His sword drawn in His hand ready to kill him in v. 23. Does that sound like His permissive will? He is finally going to go in v. 35, Balak is not going to be very happy, Israel is going to be blessed to high heaven, Balaam will make some profound prophecies about Jesus Christ, and he will come back home broke where he will eventually be killed in, Num. 31:8.
So, what you do with this dilemma in Num. 22:20, with the word God or a god who came to Balaam at night and told him to go, is entirely up to you, Permissive Will vs. Directive Will or a demon, I don’t know if it can be solved, so let’s move on and see what the context has for us. However the key to remember is this when praying; When you get an answer from YeHoVaH, anchor it in His word with a verse and don’t listen to any other voice or advice, from angels, demons or man. If God says Go! Then Go! If He says, Don’t Go! Then Don’t Go! When He speaks to you in prayer find a verse, put your name in it and throw your anchor overboard and wait on Him and His Word, Period! Till next time, I’ll see you,”…Between The Lines…”