Balaam the Charlatan
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. (2Peter 2:14-16)
PETER, LIKE JUDE, IS A FIERY PREACHER! It’s, New Testament, not Old Testament. You can’t have a New Testament without an Old Testament. Peter borrows Balaam from the Old Testament to help explain the New Testament. Peter is after the false teachers of his day as he writes to little churches scattered all over. It was a big problem then and a big problem now. That’s why it’s a part of the Word of God.
THESE FALSE TEACHERS CAME FROM WITHIN THE RANKS of Jews and Christian congregations. They were not imported from prisons and the rough side of town. They were not rough-talking thieves and robbers from the outside. They didn’t need a bath. They were steeped in the habits and behavior of decent, religious people. They were nice devils. They smelled good and talked good.
BUT, WITH ALL THEIR POLISH AND REFINEMENT, inside they were degenerate pretenders that Jesus might have called white-washed graves full of dead men’s bones. (Matthew 23:27) They searched out unstable women to seduce. Here is a key to understanding these moral misfits: “an heart they have exercised with covetous practices.” They didn’t get that way in three days.
WHEN CHURCH LEADERS GO INTO MORAL FAILURE, it is never sudden. They have given themselves permission to practice “stinkin’ thinkin’” long before they fall into “bad living.” When a pastor falls, it’s almost always over money or sex. His thinking went bad a long time before it showed, publicly. Here is the New Testament recipe for strong character: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2Corinthians 10:5)
THINK GOD'S THOUGHTS AFTER HIM. We win or lose by the way we think. I must daily eat and drink the Word of God, not because I am spiritual but because I am not spiritual. I am what God says I am: I have two natures. I have a carnal nature, an old man, a fleshly side. Jesus said to those who would come after Him: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
IF WE HAVE CHILDREN, THE BEST INVESTMENT WE WILL EVER MAKE is to do our best to cultivate them into men and women of character and stability. Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12)
THIS IS NOT DONE JUST BY PREACHING AT THEM ALL THE TIME. It starts when they are toddlers, by patient showing and teaching and especially modeling before them the character you want them to be. Character may be more caught than taught. Loving them, correcting them, showing them. Sometimes more is taught by asking a child questions than by making statements. Help them think it through.
TEACHING THEM TO OBEY WITH AUTHORITY IS NECESSARY but teach also by showing why you are exercising your authority. "Don’t play with matches because I said so and also matches can burn down the house ."
A STABLE YOUNG LADY OF CHARACTER IS NOT EASILY SEDUCED. There are many like that today. They are a minority, but they are out there. A lot of dads are making a covenant with their daughters these days. Dad gives the daughter a ring and she agrees to wear it and keep herself pure until she is ready to receive a wedding ring. When she’s ready, she goes to her daddy and gives him back his ring and he gives her away in marriage and she then wears a wedding ring. A lot of good things are going on today that we don’t see on the evening news.
THERE'S AN OLD SAYING: “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” A proverb says: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Does this mean that a well-taught child will never go astray? No, not at all. But, the child’s upbringing will influence the child very strongly. The goal is to raise strong children who are stable and cannot be easily influenced by false teachers. Generally, good teaching results in good living.
I HAVE STRAYED FROM OUR TEXT TODAY (SORT OF). The subject is about false teachers. They are pictured as being like Balaam, the money-hungry prophet in the Old Testament. Balaam was God’s prophet but a very selfish man. He was on a mission to line his pockets and the angel of God was standing in the path of the donkey with a sword in his hand. Balaam couldn’t see the angel, but the donkey could see him. So, the donkey ran against a wall and smashed the prophet’s foot.
THE PROPHET WAS ABOUT TO KILL THE DONKEY and the donkey talked back to him. The prophet was so angry he lost his mind and carried on a conversation with the donkey. That seems to happen a lot. People lose their minds when they want something so bad they stop thinking.
BALAAM WAS NOT ALLOWED TO CURSE GOD'S PEOPLE, so he advised his “bankers” to corrupt the people of God by marrying the wrong women and God would destroy them. Balaam really wanted the money. He was a charlatan. He was unfit for the office of God’s prophet. Can you imagine Elijah selling God out? But, God included Balaam in the Book of God to show us how easy it is to sell God on the cheap.
McGEE TELLS US: “Balaam is mentioned three times in the closing books of the New Testament. In 2 Peter it is the way of Balaam. In Jude it is the error of Balaam. And it is the doctrine of Balaam in the Book of Revelation. Each one is different. What is "the way of Balaam"? Peter says he is "the son of Bosor who loved the wages of unrighteousness." Balaam knew that he should not go and prophesy against Israel, but he loved the price that was being offered to him. Therefore, "the way of Balaam" is the covetousness of one who does religious work for personal profit.” (McGee)
IF YOU HAVE NOT NOTICED THE PARADE OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS who are like Balaam, you must not have a TV in your house. There are some good Bible-based teachers on TV, but there are some real Balaam types. Or…a pastor gets a call to a bigger church and more money and he yells at his wife as he’s running upstairs: ‘Honey you go start packing while I pray about this!” Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JUNE 5, 2018 – TUESDAY
A.M. 2Chronicles 17-19 P.M. John 15
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Memory Verse:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (2Timothy 2:24)(Write verses on scraps of paper and put in your pocket like President Abraham Lincoln did.)
Song for Today:
Jesus Loves the Little Children (2:29) – (Medley of Songs)
You may need to delete an ad or turn off the song when finished to avoid something else you do not want to hear.