The error of Balaam.
There was a time in his life when Balaam was a good prophet. There was a time when he served God with total integrity of heart. There was a time when he waited patiently to listen for the voice of The Lord before he made any move or gave a prophecy. There was a time when Balaam the prophet walked the narrow path of honesty and integrity, shunning covetousness and seeking to be a blessing to the people to whom he was sent as a prophet.
But, there came a time when Balak, the king of Moab, summoned Balaam urgently to come and place a curse upon his enemies, the Israelites. Balaam prayed and was instructed not to go. He was told that the people were righteous and cursing them would be a waste of his time and energy. In fact, he was told that ‘any curse or enchantment against them would be neutralized and rendered useless.’ So, Balaam refused to go with king Balak’s envoys. He said, ‘the Lord refuses to give me the permission to go with you.’ But the king was persistent and sent more regal princes with greater promises of wealth and glory, if only he would disobey the Lord, come with them and place a curse upon the people who posed a threat to their nation. At one point, Balaam even said that even if his house was full of gold and silver, he wouldn’t go with them.
But after a great deal of pressure, Balaam’s resolve began to weaken. He began to see the promised riches in a different way. The book of James said that we are tempted when we are seduced by our own lusts. Balaam’s weakness for money and the material things of life finally had an opportunity to manifest itself in his life. The spirit of greed and covetousness gripped his soul and he capitulated. He gradually began to succumb to the wishes of king Balak of Moab. Covetousness and greed moved him to mount his donkey and head in the direction of error. May the Lord deliver us from error, in Jesus Name. You can read the story in the book of Numbers, chapters 22 to 25. It is all there, how Balaam compromised his ministry, was seduced by covetousness and sold his soul for money. Balaam was the one who taught the children of Israel to worship idols and commit immorality. He did it for the money.
Like Balaam, there are people who are in ministry today simply for the money. There are many who teach Christians to worship idols and live unholy lives just because of money. These men and women probably didn’t start out in error, but along the way, after a few years in the ministry, their weak character and greed finally caught up with them and they invented ways to steal from the sheep. These men and women do anything to get the money out of the pockets of the people in their congregations. There’s nothing wrong with people giving freely to support the work of the Kingdom but there’s a great deal wrong when preachers bend the scriptures to manipulate the ignorant and steal from them. Men and women who have been entrusted with feeding the sheep now regularly fleece them. They steal with such audacity that even Balaam himself would have been ‘impressed’ with their high-tech, advanced methods of emotional and spiritual manipulation.
Like Balaam, they teach that ‘godliness is gain’. They teach that having lots of money is a sign that God has blessed you. This is so not true. Are all the drug dealers, criminals, thieves in society ‘blessed’ by God because they have money? Of course not! It is interesting that such agents of mammon never teach their congregations that godliness with contentment is great gain-1Timothy 6:6. They never remind them of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 12:15 , ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, because a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ Please take a moment to answer this question sincerely: has your pastor EVER preached a message on contentment? Ever? If he has, please send me his name and the address of his ministry. But if he hasn’t, you may have already been seduced by the error of Balaam and need to cry out to the Lord for mercy and deliverance.
Ministers who are caught in the shackles of greed, preach covetousness instead of contentment. People are infused with a spirit of greed every Sunday morning in the name of prosperity. Every prayer point is connected to some ‘seed’ or financial offering which would ‘activate’ the results you desire speedily. People are promised great riches if they give to their pastor, a man like themselves, who was called to serve them and not to become a demi-god. People rush to bestow their pastor with more money than he would ever need in his life time or in the life time of his children. Christians are erroneously taught that ‘giving a man of God money will make you rich.’ It is a lie! Financial breakthroughs are promised to the gullible if they will empty their hard earned money at the feet of covetous pastors. Greedy believers flock to the churches of these ‘money magicians’ who promise riches if you bring your money to their coffers. There is nothing wrong with giving money to a ministry as long as it is from your heart, to the Lord, for the poor, out of love and not as an ‘exchange.’
Prominent American and African preachers have perfected the erroneous message of exchange. They preach that you can exchange money for the blessings of God. What an error! They show off their cars, mansions, jewelry and riches which they allegedly got through the ‘laws of exchange’. They deceive the gullible and the greedy with their erroneous teaching and set them on the path of destruction. People are erroneously encouraged to give money, expecting to receive huge returns. It’s like a huge spiritual game of Roulette in a casino! They are taught that giving money will make them rich. But any right thinking individual can see through such a lie. Giving does not in any way or manner make you rich. It can enrich your heart and your soul. It can bless you spiritually and emotionally, but it will not make you rich. Anyone who tells you that giving money to his church or ministry will make you rich is a bold faced liar. If giving of money makes you rich, why then do we work? Why don’t we stay at home, give our money to some ‘money magician’and expect the ‘returns’ to come to us in our living rooms? The reason we wouldn’t do that is simply because it wouldn’t work. It is a lie!
If you want to attract money, work for it and invest your money wisely. That is the way people have made money for eons. If you would spend your time reading the book of Proverbs, you will discover that the diligent person, who applies wisdom in his or her work, attracts money. Making money has nothing to do with how spiritual you are. Some of the most unspiritual people have lots of money. Atheists have lots of money. Making money has nothing to do with what you give or don’t give. It has nothing to do with how well you have prayed or not prayed. Money is a product of bringing value to the market place of life. The market is no respecter of persons. It does not respect religion, colour, ethnicity, race, education or gender. The market respects and responds only to value, and money moves in the direction of value. If you want more money, then offer more value in the market place. Giving money to a church or ministry will not make you rich. Shatter that lie over your mind now and be totally liberated.
These con men and women of the pulpit go a step further to threaten you with a curse if you don’t bring your money to their temples of mammon. They paint such a picture of disaster and calamity in your mind that you begin to wonder if you are in a church or in the cavern of the high priest of some demonic deity. It is sad how far people will go to manipulate your money out of your pocket. Never capitulate to the sweet sounding words of a spiritual con artist. Unless the Lord directs you to give, never be intimidated by the empty words of a spiritual con artist who threatens to ‘curse you.’
Child of God, redeemed by the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there is no curse whatsoever upon your life. Jesus Christ has redeemed you from every curse-Galatians 3. If the reason you give is to avoid ‘a curse’ coming upon your life, you have been deceived already and you are in bondage. The Bible in 2Corinthians 9:7 says, ‘Every person should give according to what is in his heart, not grudgingly or by compulsion. God loves a cheerful giver.’ If you want to give, do it because you love the Lord, not because you are afraid of a curse coming upon your life. If you believe in a particular ministry, cause or project, pray about it and let the Lord direct you to be a blessing to it with your financial and material resources. Give to the poor. Give what you have, not what you don’t have. Never give to impress anyone or to gain favour with a man. Give with sincerity and honesty. You must understand that everything we own, including our very soul, belongs to the Lord. When He instructs us to give, we should obey quickly. There are blessings attached to swift obedience.
If you are called to serve in ministry, you don’t have to follow the error of Balaam to attract money to run your ministry. You don’t have to bend the scriptures to manipulate people to bring their money to your ministry. You don’t have to teach a lie to excite the minds of the covetous so that they can give you their money. The Lord who called you to ministry will ensure that the money you require to meet the legitimate needs of your ministry is channeled in your direction.
A brother in ministry recently gave a testimony about how a stranger walked into the church and gave them a cheque of some millions of naira. The ‘mysterious man’ said that the Lord sent him to give them that cheque and he left. I have heard this testimony repeated over and over again by many brothers and sisters in the Lord, from different Nations. People in ministry share how the Lord met their needs through total strangers, in a supernatural manner. There are so many ways the Lord will meet your needs in ministry. Money will never run out of the mouth of fishes. The Lord still uses ‘ravens’ to feed his Elijahs. The miracle of multiplication of loaves and fish still exists today. When the Lord sends, he provides and protects supernaturally. You can do the work of the ministry with total integrity and peace of mind. God’s purpose for your life will be fulfilled. Simply live by His Word and obey His Holy Spirit. Don’t compromise your life’s purpose by following the error of Balaam.