In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Towards the end of the 40 years in the wilderness Israel meets Balaam. He is a prophet of the Lord from Mesopotamia. (Deut. 23:4) They meet him when their distant relatives—the Moabites, descended of Lot (Gen. 19:36-37), Abraham’s nephew—do not meet them with bread and water (Neh. 13:2), but instead hire a prophet (or diviner, Josh. 13:22) to curse them. (Num. 22:5-6; Deut. 23:3-4) Balaam seems to be an actual prophet of Lord. He has a reputation for being able to actually accomplish things: to bless and curse in the name of the Lord. (Num. 22:6, 8, 18) It is not surprising that there would be prophets of the Lord outside of Israel as some in Moab and elsewhere may have continued to believe in the Lord over the years. Moabites were descended of righteous Lot—righteous (2 Pet. 2:7) not by works but because he believed God and the Lord credited to him as righteousness. (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:24) He believed the Lord would bless all the families on earth through Abraham’s family by taking on flesh through Abraham’s line (Gen. 12:3), so that He might be crushed for sin (Gen. 3:15), taking the power of sin away, utterly crushing Satan. For the Serpent cannot kill the Son of God. Death has no dominion over Him. (Rom. 6:9) Balaam seems to know this. He is a prophet of the Lord. He even seeks out the Lord, though his ways are bit beyond the pale. (Num. 24:1; 23:1, 14-15, 29-30) But as with so many who start out preaching God’s righteousness in Christ (Acts 20:29-30)—so that some might believe and by the gift of faith have life in His name, through Lord’s graciously crediting you with His righteousness—he had corrupted his ways. (2 Pet. 2:15) He was a prophet for hire. He took money to bless and curse. The Lord promised to bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who cursed him. (Gen. 12:3) The Lord blesses for the sake of Abraham’s family by which all families will be blessed when He became part of the human family, taking on our flesh in the womb of Mary, the virgin daughter of this family.