Chukat-Balak – “Statutes-Balak”

In chapter 20, The Lord summons Moses and Aaron, and instructs them to take the staff and to speak to the rock to yield its water. Unfortunately, Moses and Aaron do not heed Adonai’s instructions.  Instead, they gather the assembly before the rock and say to them: “Listen now you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses strikes the rock twice. Did God tell him to strike it twice?  No, not even once. Let me mention that in Exodus 17 God did tell Moses to strike the rock but not this time; therefore it was presumptuous of Moses to do this. Adonai allowed the water to flow from the rock for the people, but Moses had transgressed.

Some say that God punished Moses and Aaron because Moses struck the rock. But we must remember what Moses said to the Israelis: “Listen now you rebels, shall WE bring water for you out of this rock?”  Moses was taking credit for the miracle. Had Moses acted privately, God might have dealt with Moses differently. But since this was a public display, El Gibbor, the Mighty God severely punished Moses. He would not be permitted to enter the Promised Land with the rest of Israel – he and Aaron would die in the wilderness. Not long after this, Israel set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. Aaron died there, and Israel mourned thirty days for him. At God’s instruction, Aaron’s son Eleazar became the next High Priest.

Think about this. God gave instructions to His two leaders, but instead of obeying His directive, Moses and Aaron followed their own course of action and suffered serious consequences. This teaches us that those in positions of leadership in the New Covenant Community have a higher calling and therefore greater responsibility, and will be judged more strictly. From those to whom much is given, much will be required.

Unfortunately, pastors or messianic rabbis, seeking approval from the world, often depart from the truth of Scripture and compromise theologically; for example, suggesting there are alternative ways to Heaven than just believing in Messiah. But Yeshua told us in no uncertain terms in John 14:6 that there is no way to the Father but through Him. Don’t be like those who hear the word of God but then disregard it. The consequences of disobedience are just not worth it!

The good news is that El-Chai – the Living God, is gracious and forgiving to His children, though we make mistakes. While Moses didn’t enter the Promised Land with that next generation, he was given the privilege of seeing it; and in a sense he did enter it – since he appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah and Yeshua!

Parasha Balak, which means devastator, and covers numbers 22:2 – 25:9.  In Chukat, the Israelis decisively defeat the Amorites because the Amorites did not want them passing through their land. This week, we find the Israelis camped near the border of Moab. King Balak saw how the Israeli army defeated the Amorites.  Being afraid, Balak ordered some of his princes to go the prophet Balaam and offer him gold and silver and bring him to Balak that Balak may put a curse on the Israelis.  The king knows that whom Balaam blesses are blessed and whom he curses are cursed.  In 2 Peter, we are told about the way of Balaam.  In Jude, we are versed about the error of Balaam.  In Revelation, we are instructed regarding the doctrine of Balaam.   This prophet Balaam was a Midianite with quite a reputation– he was known to get results.  This is the account.

When the princes reached Balaam, and told him what King Balak ordered, Balaam   after some negotiating with King Balak men, the Lord speaks to Balaam and allows him to go to Moab on his donkey and only say what the Lord tells him.  This is where we see the permissive will of God, which brothers and sisters, all of us are in because we are not able to live up to God’s perfect will. Yeshua will permit us to do things in his permissive will, but there might be a price attached that we really don’t want to pay.  Many times we say we are doing something because God called us to it, but often it is our own pride calling us — not God.

At this point, you might think that the prophet Balaam is acting on the Lord’s will.   The very next sentence tells us a different story.  In verse 22, Scripture says, “but God’s anger was kindled because he went”, so we can see that God is not very impressed with Balaam the prophet. The angel of the Lord blocks the way as Balaam Is riding on his donkey and he is blinded by his own desires.  The donkey sees the Angel of the Lord and halts.  Balaam strikes the donkey, getting back on course.   Farther down the road, the Angel blocks Balaam’s journey again.  The donkey backs up against the rock and crushes Balaam’s leg.  Once again, Balaam strikes his donkey, and Scripture tells us the donkey speaks to him and asks him “why are you beating me?” Balaam explains why, without even recognizing the obvious, that his donkey is talking to him.  When Balaam realizes the angel of the Lord is standing in front of him, he gets down on his knees and bows low.  The Angel Lord reminds prophet Balaam, once again, to say nothing more than what the Lord has instructed.   God knows Balaam’s heart.  Balaam reaches king Balak and gives him 4 Oracles to give to the enemies of the chosen people.  These Oracles are God’s words.  Each time King Balak takes Balaam to a different hilltop, Balaam gives one of the oracles

“Balak brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains. `Come,’ he said, `curse Jacob for me; come, denounce Israel.’  How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?  

Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”  He answered, “Must I not speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?” And after Balaam gives his second and third Oracle, King Balak becomes very angry and Balaam utters his last Oracle ““I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.  

Balaam gives the four cryptic predictions against the nations.

Brothers and Sisters, let’s draw some applications from Parasha Chukat: and Balak.

Much like the people of Israel who wandered the desert for 40 years, when they sinned, they were humbled and repented.  Eventually, the perfect provision was our Lord Yeshua, as He declared in John 3:16   God’s love for the world was great enough that he gave His Son, for all who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. There is only one way, and the gate is narrow, but the invitation is extended to all mankind!  God has extended His mercy and grace to everyone in this room.  God’s forgiveness is an incredible gift.  Remember, a gift worth having is a gift worth sharing. The Good News is that there is no better sacrifice or intercessor than Yeshua the real Messiah, once and forever!

Balaam was motivated by power and greed.  In Jude 11, we see the error of Balaam.  We find out later that Balaam instigated a plan with King Balak to have the Moabite women visit the Israeli men and lead them to idol worship and sexual relations.  As a result, 24,000 men lost their lives.  Balaam did not understand how God’s righteousness works.  Balaam thought, because of Israel’s failure, he would destroy the Jewish nation, but they were always under God’s grace. So, brothers and sisters, Balaam was really no friend of God.

In Balaam’s last Oracle, he mentions a star will come out of Jacob; some 1500 years later Wise Men, following a star that led them to Bethlehem where a little boy was born who would be Sar Shalom Prince of peace, El Gabor mighty God, everlasting Father. Along with another prophecy in the book of Daniel that gave the time in which the Jewish Messiah would come.  A prophecy of our Messiah.

One final thought we should all remember, God will use us as an example like he did with Samuel who followed God or he can use us as an example like Balaam who was following his own desires.  Brothers and sisters, choose wisely, use discernment, and examine your heart to see what type of example you are for the Lord.