Where Lies Loyalty

 

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Numbers 22:5-6 **…….”Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he who you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

 

Balak, the king of the Moabites had seen what the children of Israel had done to the Amorites and he was terrified. When he sent for the pagan diviner and Prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites, Balaam refused, saying in verse 18, “Though Balak  were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.”  Yet, when Balak upped the ante a second time, Balaam could not resist and set out to enrich himself at the expense of God’s people. The world is so greatly tempted by the tempter (Satan) in this day and age that, people think nothing of destroying other lives at the thought of enrichment.

 

If Balaam had continued to resist the temptation with a firm no, he would have been a Biblical model of loyalty to our God. Along the road to the King, Balaam’s own insight and wisdom was salvaged by a lowly but loyal donkey. An angel of the Lord blocked the narrow road with a drawn sword but only the donkey saw and tried three times to turn, but was beaten three times with Balaam’s staff. After the third beating, the Lord opened the mouth of donkey to talk and in verse 30 the donkey said, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day?”  Balaam’s eyes were then opened by the Lord and he saw the Angel of the Lord who said in verse 33, “The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would have killed you by now, and let her live.”

 

2 Peter 2:15 **. They (mankind) have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity; a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

 

Mankind lives in a time now where nearly everything is tolerated, except intolerance. It is difficult to take a stand against truth of our Creator’s word. The door for false teachers enters our ranks and prey upon those who don’t know much about what they believe. Few people search and verify the scriptures and believe every word spoken by false teachers, leading mankind astray. Therefore, bigotry has become worse than the hypocrites Christ Jesus spoke of against the religious teachers during his ministry (Mark 7:6, Luke 13:15, Matthew 7:5). As long as thirty years later Peter continued to preach the same message as he neared the end of his live as well.

 

Scripture is clear that each person is subject to someone or something. However, mankind is attracted just like Balaam by power, money, and media with concern only for themselves. A few stewards of the gospel aggressively warn people about the terrible consequences of self-indulgence which dominate our culture. In verse 21, Peter tells us it would be better if people had not known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. Peter compared it to vomit and bathing in mud in verse 22.

 

In 2 Peter 3, verse 2; he wants us to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through the apostles. He continues the message that false teachers were mocking the idea of Christ’s return in glory. He also reminds us of lack of holy living. This was also spoken by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where God’s people with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, and are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ** This glory is splendor, praise, pure, solid, complete and luminous. It will be refined into pure gold and the distressing weight of our problems is minus zero when we reach the glory that lies before us.

 

Mankind has not changed since Lot’s wife (Genesis 19-26) when the Lord rained down burning sulfur, symbolic of the coming destruction described by the Apostle Peter. Just as mankind looks back today, struggling with distractions of the evil one, Lot’s wife looked back to see the way she was living and leaving behind. When we seek riches as Balaam and don’t won’t to give up the good life to follow the instruction and narrow way of the Lord, we perish as did Lot’s wife. Without wandering aimlessly and greedily, we must keep the vision that our God offers. We must become faithful “doulos=slave” which has a stronger meaning in Greek than “diakonos=servant.” Both translations are with a gentle nature and translate both as servant. John wrote doulos, meaning slave in Revelation 1:1 but most translations use the gentle version, diakonos, meaning servant.

 

Following are some of the Biblical examples of false teaching:

 

*Teaching that we don’t have to follow God’s commandments (Matthew 5:19).                   *Teaching that denies the Lordship of Christ Jesus (2 Peter 2:1).

      * Teaching the day of the Lord has already come and gone. (1 Thess. 1:10).  

      *Teaching that allow acts of immorality (Revelation 2:14; “But I have a few thing against you (church in Pergamos) , because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling clock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. In verse 18, Jesus says, “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them (and you) with the sword of My mouth.”)

 

2 Peter 2:2-3 **. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping (NIV). Paul tells us in Romans 8:21; that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  ** When you repent and truly feel sorry for your sins; the angels will celebrate the abundant goodness the Lord bestows on you and will joyfully sing of the Lord’s righteousness for liberating you out of bondage.  Repent now and live forever more!