This is the third time Balak has asked Balaam to curse Israel. This time gains him no better answer but it shows a change in Balaam.
Previously, when Balaam would begin to search for God’s answer he would have Balak build seven altars, sacrifice a goat and bull on each, then Balaam would go off on his own to seek the words to share. This time Balaam doesn’t seek God’s answer. He already knows it. HE knows that God isn’t going to change His mind. He was told so the last time he went. So here is no need for Balaam to seek out signs.
Balaam receives God’s words without searching this time. I believe it was because he finally put ALL his faith in the answers he had already received. God’s Spirit comes on Balaam and gives God’s words directly from the Father.
The first part of Balaam’s prophecy is the Holy Spirit confirming the authority by which Balaam speaks. What he speaks is the word of God and the visions he sees are of the Almighty. God Himself has uncovered this man’s eyes. What he sees is true and trustworthy. Balaam, the son of Beor is the messenger and the mouthpiece of God,
Balaam speaks of Israel’s future and it is glorious! It is one of triumph and prosperity. It is exactly what Balak DIDN’T want to happen. And it is all because their God is with them. They will have amazing victories. They will spread far and wide as a people. They will rise up as a nation and as a power. But it is not in their own might that they do this. It is in their relationship with the Lord. Their relationship with the very same Lord Balak is asking to curse them.
Balak is beside himself with Balaam’s words. “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them three times. Therefore now flee to your won place” (verses 10b-11a). To me, this loosely translates as “ENOUGH! This is NOT what I told you to do! Get out of here before I really lose my temper and you wind up dead!” I can just see Balak’s face as it is beet red with anger.
But Balak’s words don’t shake Balaam at all. “I told you when you sent for me the first time that I couldn’t say ANYTHING but what God put in my mouth. You knew my reputation but you insisted on my coming anyway. I acted in good faith and accordance to God’s will, NOT mans’. It matters not what you think of me or what you were prepared to pay to get your desired outcome. GOD’S view of me means WAY MORE to me than anything you could offer me or do to me. I will serve the Lord!”
Balaam has had enough and is almost ready to go home. He has one more message to deliver for the Lord though. This message will involve all the princes who have accompanied Balak on this mission.
Balaam addresses each of the leaders represented and tells them of their nation’s fate at the hands of Israel. No, it doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen. Jesus’ life was also foretold in this oracle. “A star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel” (verse 17b). He is Israel’s hope and ours too.
After delivering God’s messages Balaam heads home without fear. He has just put the fear of God (and Israel) into those listening. He can rest secure in the protection of God. Balak will not raise a hand against him.
Father God I love how Balaam quits asking when he already knows the answer. He wasn’t asking because he was uncertain of Your answer. He was asking to demonstrate to Balak that he tried. But Balak would be satisfied with nothing except getting his own way. Balaam proved who he wanted to please more with his last encounter. He didn’t care what Balak thought anymore. THAT freed him to really receive from You.
Give me that kind of courage Father. I already know my decision between the two options, but I often need the courage to stand up and make that choice obvious. I know I stand on the cusp at times and don’t take the stand I should. Help me Holy Spirit to stand firm regardless of the consequences in this world. Let my life line up with Your words in fullness.