The State of Faith
A Study on Holiness
1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from every form of evil.
We spoke of being separated from evil earlier. The believer is to avoid evil, yet, here is Balaam riding right into the face of evil - and he knows it! No wonder God was upset with him! Balaam could not follow directions! Obedience is a key part of our walk with Christ. Balaam fails at this, even though a review of Numbers 22-24 shows that Balaam could not curse the Israelites as requested by Balak. He even figured this out on his own!
WHEN BALAAM saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as he had done each time before [superstitiously] to meet with omens and signs in the natural world, but he set his face toward the wilderness or desert. 2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes and he saw Israel abiding in their tents according to their tribes. And the Spirit of God came upon him (Num 24:1-2, Amp)
In fact, Balaam even offers up a prophecy to Christ:
Numbers 24:15-17 (NLT)
15 This is the prophecy Balaam delivered: "This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the prophecy of the man whose eyes see clearly, 16 who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls down with eyes wide open: 17 I see him, but not in the present time. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the foreheads of Moab's people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth.
Yet, Balaam proves true to his desires in life. Being unable, by the power of God, to earn his keep with his prophecy, Balaam devises an alternative plan for Balak to defeat the Israelites. The plan is recorded at the start of chapter 25, even though it is not until several chapters later we learn the fall of Israel was devised at the hands of the false prophet.
Numbers 25:1-3 (NLT)
1 While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men defiled themselves by sleeping with the local Moabite women. 2 These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, and soon the Israelites were feasting with them and worshiping the gods of Moab. 3 Before long Israel was joining in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord's anger to blaze against his people.
Numbers 31:7-8 (NLT)
7 They attacked Midian just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. 8 All five of the Midianite kings-Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba-died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.
Numbers 31:16 (NLT)
16 "These are the very ones who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord's people.
So, Balaam, the prophet for hire, is not the hero because he did not curse Israel. When he cannot curse the nation, he instead councils the Moabites on how to defeat the Israelites. He basically argues that sex is the key and the women of Moab should seduce the Israelites with both their bodies and their gods. And it worked! For this Balaam lost his life.
Balaam is an example of following the way of the world instead of the way of God. This is the manner in which Balaam is remembered in the New Testament.