© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved|
A Picture Of Today's Popular Preacher
"Many have their eyes open that have not their hearts open, are enlightened, but not sanctified; and that knowledge which puffs men up with pride will but serve to light them to hell, whither many go with their eyes open."
"A man may be full of the knowledge of God and yet utterly destitute of the grace of God, may receive the truth in the light of it and yet be a stranger to the love of it." - both quotes are from Matthew Henry
There was a Prophet in the Bible by the name of Balaam. He had some of the finest credentials that would definitely place him on the circuit for Preachers today. His schedule for preaching would most certainly be booked up for the whole year. He would be in demand for every convention, seminar, church service, campmeeting, Christian Radio or TV Broadcast.
When we look into Numbers 24, we come across some very impressive experiences which this man had in the Lord. They are as follows -
Numbers 24:3-4 says - "And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open."
Numbers 24:16 adds - "He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open."
Here was a man who had his eyes opened or uncovered to see into the spirit realm...heard God speak a word in season...had a vision from the Almighty...fell down under the force of the overpowering interpretation...and was able to tap into the knowledge of the Most High.
Wow! What a man of God!
Could you envision the prayer line that would be waiting to receive his touch on their lives?
Does he have any CD's or DVD's or has he written a book lately? Won't his materials be in great demand today? Most likely you would find his face on the major Christian magazines - filling the bookstores across the land.
But wait a minute! Aren't we missing something here?
Let's go back to Numbers 22:31 and see what it says about this "Mighty Prophet" - "Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face." It doesn't say much for any man when a dumb donkey has more spiritual discernment than him. Notice that the Scripture says that "the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam..." The Lord uncovered his eyes and rolled away the veil. Here is the spiritually blind seer seeing the majesty of One whom the donkey saw all along.
Perhaps we should place the donkey on the circuit for Preachers! After all - he saw the angel long before Balaam ever did. He seemed to have more on the ball - spiritually speaking. He wasn't willful like his Master or alot of today's Preachers!.
Let's go back to Numbers 24 and read in verse 2 a very important point about this Prophet - "And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him."
Notice that it says - "...and the spirit of God came upon him." He was only able to see the things that he saw and experience the things that he experienced concerning Israel because - "the spirit of God came upon him."
One minute he was spiritually blind, while the next minute, we see his eyes are opened. This is not a good record for one who is to be a mouthpiece for God. For one who spends time with Him, he should have been sensitive to the angel's presence in the way. Also, if he spent time in the Presence of the Lord, he should have had His heart for Israel and known ahead of time His gracious intentions for these people.
The truth of the matter was that this man's eyes of understanding were blinded with ambition, covetousness, and foolish and hurtful lusts. He professed to know God but in works he denied Him(Titus 1:16). .
God did not allow the spirit of prophecy to come upon him because he was His "Mighty Man Of Power For The Hour." He allowed him to draw close to Him for the sake of Israel to prevent him from doing them any harm.
Isn't it interesting how he knew the "Christian lingo" in referring to God? He called Him the "Most High" and "the Almighty." This would have thrown off many people in discerning his true character.
Here is the crux of the matter - this so-called Prophet had his eyes opened but not his heart. He was enlightened but not sanctified. Having knowledge, he was so ignorant of the consequences of "playing with sin." He was "destitute of the grace of God." He loved to experience the supernatural but did not have the strength to live for God or say "No!" to sin. He wanted the power of God without the purity of life.
Interestingly enough, the Jews have a saying that pertains to this matter - "he that has an evil eye, a haughty spirit, and a large soul, or is covetous, is one of the disciples of Balaam the wicked."(John Gill's Exposition Of The Entire Bible) Did you catch it how they refer to Balaam as - "the wicked"? Yet most "Christians" today would be ready to send off their tithe to him and support his ministry.
The Apostle Peter described his followers in this way - "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness"(2 Peter 2:14-15). In other words, Balaam was the father of all false prophets who "love the wages of unrighteousness." They follow the path of covetousness, uncleanness, and idolatry...have an inordinate love for the good things of this world...are influenced by the love of gain...will even sell themselves out to an evil cause for the sake of gain...and oftentimes are used of the devil to induce others to sin.
This is how Balaam is initially described - "... the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open"(Numbers 24:3-4)
But as we read ahead in his story, we see that he was a man who was just dying to somehow get a hold of Balak's gold and silver. He loved, desired, and greedily coveted it. How do we know this? Because he followed after Balak's messengers...built his altars...and offered sacrifices - hoping that somehow God would change His mind and "make a way out of no way" for him to get some of the gold that was promised him.
So many today are following after Preachers because they manifest "impressive gifts." We are 100% in support of any man or woman of God operating in the Gifts of the Spirit. But as we see from the example of Balaam, there better be more than the show of "gifts" in these individual's lives and ministry.
Today we have Preachers who claim to receive great revelations from God, yet their hearts are closed to the way of Holiness and Purity of life and resultantly, they are not sanctified. They claim to see visions and receive dreams from "the Almighty," yet they they are blinded to the elementary principles of salvation in Christ. They speak eloquent words, yet they are "destitute of the grace of God" - in that they do not know how to treat people with respect, kindness, and humility - rather than with contempt and arrogance.
"...following the way of Balaam..."
Is your favorite Preacher - whom you support with your tithes and offerings every week - one of Balaam's disciples?
Remember the Jews call him "the wicked."
What does that say about your Preacher?
May God Bless His Word.