“If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the LORD speaks, that will I speak” (Numbers 24:13).
Balak, king of the Amalekites, hired Balaam to curse Israel. But three times Balaam blessed them instead. Predictably, Balak was angry. But Balaam had warned him repeatedly that he would only speak what the Lord spoke to him. Balaam seems to have done this faithfully. He refused to curse those God blessed.
Though Balaam refused to curse Israel he showed Balak a way to get Israel to curse themselves.
“… the women … on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD …” (Numbers 31:15-16).
“Balaam … taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:14).
“Balaam … loved gain from wrongdoing” (2 Peter 2:15).
There is a way to remain technically obedient yet to do evil. We may “preach” faithfully but fail utterly. We must guard our preaching but also our hearts.
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching” (1 Timothy 4:16a). It is both “yourself” and your “teaching.” You may remain technically correct in the latter and fail utterly in the former.
“Above all else, guard your heart for from it flows the well spring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).