When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as he had done each time before [superstitiously] to seek omens and signs [in the natural world], but he set his face toward the wilderness (desert).  And Balaam raised his eyes and he saw Israel living in their tents tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came on him.            Number 24:1-2

The inlet of God into the soul is through the truth as a medium. The orderly aspect of the Hebrew camp encircling the tabernacle — the abode of Jehovah — signalized by the cloudy pillar, awakened faith in the mind of Balaam; not, indeed, a personal and saving trust in Jehovah, but a realization of the truth of his claims and of Israel’s election. This faith prepared Balaam for the incoming of the inspiring Spirit. This is not said of his two former speeches, which were put into his mouth without his being thrown into a state of ecstasy; but this utterance resembles the predictions of true prophets: the inner ear is opened to hear the voice of God, and the spiritual eye, purged by the Spirit of God, sees the substance of the revelation. – Whedon’s Commentary

We’re impressed by the events of chapters 22-24 in Numbers not taking place before the eyes of the Israelites. If it were not for this account, neither Israel nor we would even know these things took place. Passages in Job and in the Book of Daniel speak of the “spiritual warfare” that is taking place, unknown to us (unless God reveals it). Thank God that He is constantly protecting us and securing our blessings, when the forces of hell oppose us.

Every Old and New Testament reference to Balaam subsequent to the historical record of Numbers 22-24 is a condemnation of Balaam or those who listen to or emulate him. These references are: Numbers 31:8,16; Deuteronomy 23:4,5; Joshua 13:22 & 24:9,10; Nehemiah 13:2; Micah 6:5; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14. A man who said, “… I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God” (Numbers 22:18), blessed Israel (Numbers 24:3-9), prophesied under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Numbers 24:2), and prophesied about the coming Messiah (Numbers 24:17) is condemned throughout Scripture! Balaam has been called “enigmatic” and thus he is; yet he serves as an example of the type of false teachers that trouble the church in the end times.

This passage gives us the principle of the sovereign ministry of the temporary indwelling of the Holy Spirit to Old Testament believers. This Old Testament ministry of the Holy Spirit was known as enduement.

According to Horton, Balaam was “really a heathen fortune-teller and adviser who used various means to conjure up spirits or find omens or make incantations for a price.” Later, he sold his services to the Midianites and died fighting against Israel. Nevertheless, God used Balaam to do His purpose.


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