FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
INTRO - Some people are remembered for the good that they have done. Some are remembered for the bad.
• 2 Pt 2:1-3,15-16. forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam,
• Jd 1:4,11 for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam,
• Rv 2:12-14. 'But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam,
As we look at his story this morning, I think we may see a bit of Balaam in ourselves, a bit of a man who was doing things for all the wrong reasons.
I. A PROPHET FOR HIRE - The story of Balaam is found in the book of Numbers during the 40 years that Israel found themselves wondering in the wilderness. .
A. An Intro To Balaam - Nm 22:1-6
1. Israel was camped near Moab
2. Balak and the Moabites were afraid of them Vs 4
3. Balak sends for Balaam to curse the Israelites.
4. It appears from this intro that Balaam had a reputation - a reputation of being able to place curses or blessing on people that came to be. A reputation that was know over 300 miles away. I believe he couldn’t do that if he wasn’t a prophet of God.
B. Balaam Goes To God - Nm 22:7-14
1. Balaam takes the time to do some consulting - Vs 8 "Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you as the LORD may speak to me." - Notice two things here
a. He goes to consult God and doesn’t claim to do his wok on his own.
b. He goes to Yahweh and not some false god.
2. God responds
a. God asks who the people are
b. Balaam responds as if it was natural.
c. God tells Balaam he can’t go curse them for they are blessed.
d. Balaam returns God’s answer - Vs 13 "Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you."
C. Balak Tries Again -.
1. He sends even more important people
2. Offers great honor and riches
3. Balaam claims he can not go against God - Vs 18 "Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God. Notice that Balaam calls Yahweh his God
4. Balaam talks to God again and is told he could go but is warned - Vs 20
D. Balaam’s Blessings - After listening to complaints from Balak for not arriving sooner, Balaam reminds Balak he can only say what God allows him to.
1. Blessing #1 - In Nm 23:1-12
2. Blessing #2 - Starting in vs 13-26
3. Blessing #3 - Starting in vs 27 - 24:13
E. Balak Get’s His Curse - After being told to go home, Balaam goes on to tell Balak what’s going to happen to his people and what he has to say is not good. What Balaam has to say turns out to be a curse to the Moabites - Vs 17
II. BALAAM’S PROBLEM / OUR PROBLEM - Ek 33:13-16 Despite all the good recorded of this prophet, something was wrong, very wrong, for he is not remembered for good but for bad.
A. Some Missing Links - At first glance it is hard to see how Balaam was such a bad guy. So what went wrong? Lets take a look at the missing parts of the story
1. Balaam’s Donkey Ride - One of the famous stories in the Bible is that of the talking donkey - but why?
a. Balaam saddles his donkey and goes
b. God is angry with him for going
c. Three times the donkey sees the angel and turns away from him
d. Balaam starts to beat the donkey
e. The donkey talks back
f. Balaam’s eyes are opened to the angel with the sword
g. The angel responds - Vs 32 Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. - God sees the heart. It appears at this point that Balaam’s reasons for going were not in line with God’s. Further conversation with the angel makes it appear that he was going so he could curse the people for he was warned in vs 35
2. Balaam’s advice - After Balaam supposedly leaves we find trouble taking place among the Israelites.
a. Nm 25:1-3
b. Nm 31:15-16.
c. Apparently, Balaam was still eager to earn some cash even though God would not allow him to curse the people, so he gave the Moabites some advice. It appears that Balaam suggested that the Moabites use their women to seduce the Israelite men into sin and it seems to have worked.
3. New Testament Links
a. Peter when speaking of false teachers compares them to Balaam who he says in 2 Pt 2:16 loved the wages of unrighteousness
b. Jesus Himself tells us more in Rv 2:14 where he says Balaam kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.
c. Balaam was motivated by wealth
B. Wrong Motives Motivate - Ulterior or wrong motives have surfaced more than once in the Bible.
1. For the wrong reason, Simon wanted the Spirit and was rebuked - Ac 8:21-22
2. For the wrong reason people have worshiped and sacrificed to God - Mt 15:8
3. Saul disobeyed God thinking he could sacrifice the flocks he should have destroyed
4. The Pharisees did many so called religious things for wrong reasons. They prayed and they fasted and they tithed simply to be seen of men.
5. Even the gospel is preached under false motives - Pp 1:17
6. The list could go on for many things through out history have been done for the wrong reasons
C. We Often Have Wrong Motives
1. Jm 2:4
2. Jm 4:3
3. From The Lamplighter, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations - Some Go To Church...
a. Some go to church just for a walk,
b. Some go to church to laugh and talk,
c. Some go there the time to spend,
d. Some go there to meet a friend.
e. Some go there for speculation—
f. Some go there for observation,
g. Some go there to doze and nod,
h. Some, how few, to worship God.
4. Even if Balaam wanted to do the right thing, it seems clear that he wanted the money and this was his undoing
D. God Knows Our Inside Thoughts
1. Pv 16:2
2. Ps 44:21
3. 1Sa 16:7
4. In Mt 7:15, Jesus issued a warning to be on the lookout for wolves in sheep’s clothing. People with ulterior motives. Every action we participate in is fueled by motives.
E. Pure Motives Should Be Our Goal
1. 1 Tm 1:5
2. Ps 51:10
3. Ps 119:9
4. Heb 4:12.
5. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Most people start off saying, "I can not do anything contrary to the command of the Lord", but like Balaam they end up on the side of the devil. We must never underestimate the power that our desires have to lure us away from what is right. Balaam wanted money, but he also wanted to do God's will. On this occasion the two desires were in conflict. Balaam said he could not be bought for all of Balak's silver and gold, but he ended up being bought for a sum considerably less than that and payed for it with his life.
CONCL - So what motivates us? What are the reason that are behind what we are doing. Are they selfish or Godly / righteous / pure? Whatever they may be, God knows - lets get them right so we can do the right things for the right reasons.