Bamoth-baal

Today's devotion from Numbers 22.

There are so many questions that we have concerning Numbers 22. For example, how does Balaam come to know God so intimately as to hear from Him? Then there's the issue of the  second guessing. At first, Balaam is faithful to reject their offer, but something changed. What was it? Then there is the issue of the talking donkey. In perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the account, not only does the donkey talk, but Balaam isn't surprised to find himself conversing with the animal.

However, the most telling aspect of the account is not the journey, but the destination. Greed, pride, arrogance, who really knows Balaam's motivation? But we all see where he ends up: Bamoth-baal. The phrase means, "The High Places of Baal." From this vantage, one who knew God through his gift of prophecy looked down on the people of God.

As I read this account, it was in this last verse that I was able to pinpoint what troubles me about the Balaam account. Though he knew God, he was not one of the People of God. God had gifted him and used him, yet he stood apart from the people of God. As the chapter closes, there he is on the mountain, looking down on the people of God with his new friend beside him.

Think about what Balaam has experienced in this chapter alone. God has spoken to him. He has miraculously conversed with his donkey. He supernaturally encountered an angelic being. Yet even after all of that, here he stands with the enemy of God's people and of God's plan. It's tempting to think badly of Balaam, but we have the blessing of foresight. We know that he will not curse, but will bless the people of God.

So, what am I saying? I'm saying that sometimes God uses people in the High Places of Baal to bless His people. Even though Balaam has arrived in an awkward way, he repeatedly warned Balak that he couldn't contradict the words of God, and that is what will happen. You may have awakened this morning to find yourself in a precarious place and even really know how you ended up there, but even then you can be used by God.