Numbers 31 tells us about the death of Balaam and of those who accepted his counsel, namely, that the only way to combat the Israelites was not by force but by seducing them into immorality. They took his advice and it worked! But now God acted. “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Avenge the people of Israel…”. Leading Moses to say, ‘Arm men from among you for war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance” (31:1-3). The result is the kings of Midian are slain, “and they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword”.
It was on Balaam’s advice (verse 16) that the Midianites had sent in women that “caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD … and so the plague came among the congregation …” So, Balaam is killed and all those immoral leaders as Moses acted to “execute the Lord’s vengeance”. This vengeance is seen many times in the Old Testament both against Israel’s enemies and against Israel itself when they lapsed into immorality. The same applies to spiritual Israel, that is those who claim to follow Christ but whose way of life brings dishonour to Christ’s name, just as unfaithfulness by natural Israel brought dishonour to the LORD’s name.
How easy it is for Jews and Christians to deceive themselves into thinking God will not deal with them when they slip into immoral ways. Balaam of all people, who had experienced such contact with God, (chapters 22 to 24) should have had a fear of God! But ‘No’! Sadly, the history of Christianity shows too many examples of similar failures. Look at some of Paul’s words; “Do not be deceived God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (6:7-9).
Balaam sowed the seeds of his own destruction despite much contact with God. What are we sowing? What will we reap?