They killed the kings of Midian along with the rest of their slain: Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian; they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword (Numbers 31:8 NASB).
Balaam was a complicated man. We see in him strokes of righteousness and prophetic insight mixed with self-centeredness and greed. Weeds left among flowers most often take over the garden.
Midian is thought to have been in the vicinity of Moab. The Lord told Balaam explicitly that he was not to get involved with Balak the Moabite King (Numbers 22:12 NASB). Balaam continues to seek permission to go. Continuing to ask the same question after the Lord clearly answered it, revealed a telling sign about Balaam’s character. His craving for wealth surpassed his willingness to do listen to God. Instead of agreeing with God, Balaam tried to get the Lord to agree with him. His avarice was enticing to believe that he knew better than God. Incomplete obedience is always disobedience, which brings disastrous results.
We are not told why Balaam was among the Midianites or what he was doing, but good character can be corrupted by the bad company we keep. It is not always about being strong enough to resist sin but being amenable to God’s directions to keep us out of temptation. Compromise places us in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, for Balaam incomplete obedience led to his untimely destruction. Almost obeying God can have dreadful outcomes.
Image used with permission by Microsoft
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing