Select Wisdom Brand

No Solicitors!

Numbers 22:15-18
Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than these. And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. Come, curse this people for me.’” But Balaam answered … “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the LORD my God to do less or more.”

From now on, whenever you recount heroic actions of biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, whenever you think of Daniel being thrown to the lions, and young David fighting Goliath, and Mary surrendering her life to the Father’s will, think also of Balaam and his unwavering fealty to truth even when a king offered to pay him handsomely for a lie. In fact, Balaam will go on to reiterate this stance three more times in an episode that resembles Christ’s own three-fold temptation by the devil in the wilderness. Like his Savior, Balaam won’t be moved. Not by money, not by political favors, not by fame, nor by anything the world can offer.

I’m intrigued that Balak begins here by offering Balaam ‘great honor,’ and it draws me back to our previous discussion about honor from God’s command in Exodus to “honor your father and mother.” Do you recall that discussion? For a quick refresher, honor is the inherent prize of virtue, not something given. That is, when we ‘give’ honor, we recognize and applaud the honor that was merited already—just as generals give purple hearts to soldiers who risked their lives and sporting bodies give trophies to champions. Balaam understands this. That’s why he isn’t swayed by the sugar-coated promises of ‘great honor’ from king Balak. After all, what honor could Balaam possibly gain by dishonoring God? To prophets like him, prophets who yearn to hear the LORD say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”, human flattery is as hollow and as fruitless as a rotted-out tree.

Friend, put a sign on the front lawn of your virtue that reads ‘No Solicitors!”, and don’t open the door when the princes of the power of the air come knocking.