The story of Balaam – Part 3
(4) God does not approve of everything He allows. God was angry because Balaam went with the princes of Moab (22:22). Let there be no doubt that God is not pleased, when men do the evil that He permits. God sometimes allows men to sin, even though He has condemned and forbidden it. This is a good example of what we might call “God’s permissive will.” God forbade Balaam to go with the delegation that had come, just as He forbade Balaam from cursing Israel, the people He had blessed. God’s direct revelation to Balaam, forbidding him to go, was His will in precept. When He permitted Balaam to accompany these men to meet with Balak, it was His permissive will. God allows men to do those things, which He has forbidden. Woe to those who persist in their path of sin, for it is surely the road to destruction. Just because God allows men to sin does not mean that He approves of sin.
(5) When God allows men to do what He has forbidden, it is because it will fulfill His purposes. When God does permit men to sin, it does not mean that His Word or His will has changed. It means that He has purposed to allow us to sin, for His glory. In some way, God will use our disobedience to instruct others and to bring about His purposes in a way men would never have imagined, or to bring about our own demise. The sin of Judas Iscariot in betraying the Savior was the instrument God used to accomplish our redemption on the Cross of Calvary. The rejection of Jesus as the Messiah by the nation Israel opened the door to the evangelisation of the Gentiles (Romans 11:11). The sin of Ananias and Saphira was used by God to bring fear on the church in Jerusalem (Acts 5:11). David’s sin in numbering the Israelites resulted in the purchase of the land on which the future temple would be constructed (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; 2 Chronicles 3:1).
Although God uses the sinful acts of men to accomplish His purposes, this in no way minimises or reduces the penalty meted out to them for their sin. How easy it would be for someone to wrongly conclude that “since my sin ultimately fulfills the purposes of God,” I can live in sin with impunity, as though I were doing God a favour!”30 This is not the case at all. God hates our sin, and He punishes sinners for their sins. Let us never seek to turn grace into a licence to sin. As we will see all too soon, Balaam paid a very high price for his sin.
(6) When men sin, God may withhold His punishment for a time. Divine punishment for sin is often delayed, so that we can see the awful consequences of sin. God delayed His punishment on the land of Canaan, so that its sin would be fully developed, and so that the wickedness of the Canaanites can be clearly seen. Though the punishment God prescribed on the Canaanites was severe, it was justly deserved (Genesis 15:13-16; see also Matthew 13:24-30; James 1:13-15).
(7) Apart from God’s grace, Balaam would have died on the way to meet Balak. Three times the donkey saved Balaam from the sword of the Angel of the LORD.
• Prophet (Dr.) Abiara is General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide