God protected the Israelites by foiling Balaam’s sorcery. The Hebrews had no idea that God saved them while they were sleeping. Frustrated, Balaam packed up his stuff and walked away. We thought the story ended there, that he quit his trade and turned over a new leaf after his encounter with God. Not quite.
In the next chapter, we learned of a massive, large scale adultery going on among Hebrew men and Moabite women. At first glance. it would seem like this is a separate story, totally unrelated to what happened in the previous chapter. However, a closer look reveals that it was Balaam who advised the Moabites to send their women to seduce the Hebrews.
The plan worked, the Israelite men committed shameless adultery in broad daylight even in front of the tabernacle. This roused God’s fierce anger that on that same day, 24,000 Hebrew men died. Moab succeeded in inflicting damage to Israel. Their temple prostitutes succeeded where black magic failed. At the end of that grim day, Israel was left weaker and more vulnerable. God’s divine protection upon them came to nothing when they willfully sinned.
The story tells us one very obvious truth: God’s divine protection works best if we stay within it, if we don’t wander away flirting with sin. The moment we venture outside his will, our security is automatically compromised.
In the end, Balaam got his wealth but he didn’t enjoy it. Numbers 31: 8 tells us that he died when Moses sent his troops to battle with the Midians. He got his just deserts. His love of money was his downfall.
Another obvious truth worth mentioning is that when the devil can’t use pain to destroy us, he uses pleasure. Everyone knows this. Everyone, beware of this.