This week’s Portion focuses upon the story of the pagan prophet Balaam (Hebrew pronunciation: Bil’am). He was called by the Moabite king Balak to come from his homeland in the Euphrates area and curse Israel, at that time spread out on the plain just east of the Jordan from Jericho. But Israel’s God takes authority over the vocal chords of Balaam, and the intended curses pour forth as blessings over Israel and doom for all those which arise against her. Portions of these oracles are recognized as among the most magnificent examples of Hebrew poetry in the Bible, while elements of the blessings continue to awaken prophetic resonance in our own day!
*Numbers 22:8. “And he [i.e. Balaam] said to them, ‘Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD [YHVH] speaks to me.” This as well as vs 18 (“YHVH my God”) might seem to suggest that Balaam was a worshiper of the LORD. However, Joshua 13:22 describes him as a “soothsayer”—an occult occupation strongly condemned in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. As such, it is more likely that he wished to present himself to Balak as an ‘expert’ on all gods, including the God of Israel, YHVH . It is interesting that in the Deity’s early dealings with Balaam in 22:9, 12, 20, 22, the term “God” (Elohim) is used, instead of “YHVH” as would likely have been the case had he truly been a follower of the LORD of Israel. Although God speaks to Balaam, and in fact takes over his mouth to speak through him, it is obvious from later allusions in the New Testament (II Peter 2:15-17, Jude 11, Revelation 2:14) that this magician was divided—he “loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:15-17); he “ran greedily into error for profit” (Jude 11)—and, after the failure of his attempts to curse Israel by his magic arts (Numbers 24:1), he later “taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children if Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” (Numbers 25:2; Revelation 2:14). For such he was eventually slain (Joshua 13:22)—and believers in the Church age are warned against falling into his evil ways.
*Numbers 22:20. “…only the word which I speak to you shall you do.” In the Hebrew, this is not a command but rather a simple statement of fact—“This is what is going to take place”.
PLEASE PRAY: that God’s living, creative Word be released in Israel. It comes best through His willing servants—but He is Lord, and as such exercises sovereignty over the lips of all humankind (and even the beasts). Pray for spiritual discernment among the Body in Israel—to recognize His Word, to discern “between the righteous and the wicked— between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:18).
*Numbers 22:22. “But Elohim was angry because he [Balaam] was going, and the messenger/angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as an adversary [Literal Hebrew: “as a satan”] against him.” The Hebrew word “satan” originally meant “one who is an adversary”. In this case (vs. 22, 32), the adversary was good— “The Angel of the LORD”. In Zechariah 3:1-2, “The Satan” standing to accuse Joshua the high priest was evil. “Against whom one stands” as adversary is the issue. Better that the LORD’s adversaries be also ours and His angel standing with us against them, than that the Holy One Himself come to be revealed as adversary against us!
*Numbers 22:31.“Then the LORD opened [Hebrew: revelated] Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.”
PLEASE PRAY: that God will open the eyes of those who are allowing themselves to be honored as spokespersons to the Gentile church regarding Israel, albeit with impure motives—that they will see that they are playing with fire. Pray that the eyes of the hearts of Israeli believers be opened to see into the heavenlies, where we are seated with Messiah. Pray that we will flow with God’s heavenly armies rather than contrary to them (Ephesians 1:3,18-21; II Kings 6:16-17).
*Numbers 23:3b.“So he went to a desolate height…” This is exactly the same word (only in the singular) used in Isaiah 41:8, “I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys.” What God was about to release through Balaam was a torrent of prophetic truth which would stream through the centuries, and which is still nourishing Israel today!
*Numbers 23:9. “…Behold, a people who dwells apart, and will not be reckoned as being among the nations.”
PLEASE PRAY: that modern Israel would rise up to her place of calling—that God would wean us away from the habitual longing to be “like other nations.” Pray that the believing Body of Messiah in the Nations will release Israel to “be set apart” to what God has called her to be.
*Numbers 23:21. “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The LORD his God is with him, and the shout [or royal shofar blast] of a King is among them.”
PLEASE PRAY: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done—in Israel—as it is in Heaven!”
*Numbers 24:7, 20. “His [i.e. Jacob’s] King shall be higher than Agag, and His kingdom shall be exalted…Amalek was first among the nations, but shall be last until he perishes.” As we have mentioned during our traversals of Exodus 17:8-16 and Deuteronomy 25:17-19, Amalek signifies a covenant-hating spirit which has historically manifested in seeking to destroy God’s covenant-people Israel; this spirit is at the heart of all anti-Semitism. Agag was an Amalekite king (I Samuel 15:8) and Haman, the “Enemy of the Jews” (who sought to exterminate them out of the Persian Empire) was a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1, 10). God’s covenants with Israel are covenants of Life, through which flows blessing for all humankind made in His image. Therefore, He has sworn war with Amelek from generation to generation until He has utterly blotted out his memory from under Heaven (Exodus 17:14-15). “His King”—(His Son, Psalm 2:6-7) “was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).
*Numbers 23:23.“For there is no sorcery [In Hebrew, the word used here for “sorcery” and that used for “serpent” in Genesis 3 are identical] against Jacob and no magic against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’”
*Micah 5:12 (Haftarah). “I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no soothsayers. Your carved images I will also cut off, and your obelisks from your midst; You shall no more worship the work of your hands.”
Both this passage from the Torah and that from the Haftarah are very pertinent for us in Israel today. The enemy knows that his time is short—and he has sown sorcery throughout the land. In secular schools, children are often taught the horoscope and New Age in the early grades (we have seen the homework papers ourselves). Much of ultra-Orthodox Judaism is permeated with the occult (We wrote recently of the special exhibition in Jerusalem on the occult Hamsa.). Often Israelis flocking to Asia (particularly India and Thailand) after military service, bring back Eastern mysticism to fill the void within. And there are New Age festivals several times a year which attract thousands.
PLEASE PRAY: that the works of the serpent (who hates all those made in God’s image) will be exposed and cut off in Israel. Pray for the Body of Messiah in the Land, for release of signs and wonders and deliverance from demons in the Name of Yeshua through the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray that curses made against this Land and people from outside will hit a wall and fall to the ground. Pray for God to raise up leaders like Josiah who will work with holy Zeal and Jealousy for the cleansing of our land.
*Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the YHVH require of you but to do justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
PLEASE PRAY this verse over Israel—God “resists the proud but gives grace to the humble,” and He longs to “walk” closely with His people again!
Your Friends in Jerusalem