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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Balak 40-3


Numbers 22:21-38

"Well, I have come to you now," Balaam replied. "But can I say just anything? I must speak only what God puts in my mouth."

Num. 22:38 NIV

Can the Eternal's arm be twisted, or can we speak in His name words He hasn't said?

Bilam wanted to go with the men, in spite of the fact that the Eternal had told him not to go. That's why he tried again if he could change the Almighty's idea. Then the Eternal allowed him to go, but on the condition that he would only speak what came from heaven. But since the prophet didn't go with good intentions, an angel was sent to kill him. However, his donkey saved his life.

Bilam hit his donkey three times in anger, and the Eternal reprimanded him twice for having done that; first through the donkey's mouth and then through an angel. This teaches us the importance of not mistreating animals. Any kind of mistreatment to animals is registered in heaven and will bring consequences upon men.

Bilam knew that he couldn't speak anything that the Eternal didn't put in his mouth. That was the condition under which the Eternal had allowed him to go with the chiefs of Moav. However, Bilam was hoping to please men by pronouncing a curse over the people, especially when he found out that he was to receive a financial reward for his prophecy.

But at the same time he knew that he couldn't speak things that the Eternal didn't say. This is a sign that his level of prophecy was very high. He couldn't say cursing words with his mouth because the Eternal controlled it when he prophesied. Anyway, he tried to do it and that's why the Eternal wanted to kill him.

How dangerous it is to speak words in the name of the Eternal as if they were His when they are actually not. Don't believe in prophecies that say: "Thus says the Lord..." they are usually false and in the best of cases they are in part inspired by Him mixed with words from the one who prophesies.

If you feel inspired to prophecy it's better not to say: "Thus says the Lord..." in order to prevent the risk of taking His name in vain and put things He has not said in His mouth. It's better to transmit the message that was perceived in the spirit humbly and let the listener judge. Instead of saying: "Thus says the Lord..." one should say: "I think the Eternal is saying this or that..." or "It seems to me that the Eternal is saying this or that". In this way we keep our backs safe and are in less risk of being severely judged for saying a false prophecy in the name of the Eternal who is Sacred.

May the Eternal keep us from any evil thing.

Kol tuv may all go well,


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