The Fate of Balaam
Numbers 31:1-12
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…

Who shall describe the terrors of this recreant prophet, during that brief moment that ensued between the lifting up and the letting down of that fatal weapon? We know how Balaam regarded death. We know that he regarded it with dread. "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." And now he was about to die the death of the wicked! As in a moment, we may be sure, the whole panorama of his life, and its true significance, flashed before him.

I. DEATH THE TESTING TIME OF LIFE. We may exaggerate the importance of death. We may treat it as more important than life; whereas its chief importance is in relation to life. But in its relation to life its importance is scarcely to be exaggerated. And its chief significance, in this respect, undoubtedly consists in its bearing on the future.

II. THE AWFULNESS OF DEATH TO ONE WHO HAS LIVED A SINFUL AND UNHOLY LIFE. There can be no doubt that God did His utmost to save this man. Nothing that was likely to be helpful to his salvation was withheld from him; and all this Balaam must have felt and realised, when at last his course of crime had brought him to that life-revealing spot, the shadow of death. And if such was his retrospect in the hour of death, what must have been the prospect that opened up to his imagination and his fears? And what makes the fate of Balaam so terrible to think of, is the apparently minute point of departure from the course of rectitude in which his wrong-doing commenced. Balaam only, at first, desired to have the pecuniary recompense which the service of Balak promised him. He had no desire to do wrong. He did not love unrighteousness; he only loved the "wages" of unrighteousness. And yet that little germ of evil in his breast at last overcame all right feeling and all right principle; and reduced the famous prophet of Pethor to the level of the lowest schemer and the basest plotter. The smallest angle at the juncture of two lines will, if these lines be continually produced, lead them wider and wider at every stage. And so if there be the least departure from the path of Fight at the beginning there will be infinitely divergeness in the end.

(W. Roberts.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

WEB: Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

The Doom of the Double-Hearted
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