Faithful preaching...

Balak, the King of Moab, looked out over the hordes of God's people spread out across the land adjoining his nation, and he sent off for the prophet Balaam to come and curse the people of God:

Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed. (Numbers 22:6)

And:

Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt and they cover the surface of the land; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I may be able to fight against them and drive them out. (Numbers 22:11, 12)

Again and again, Balak demanded Balaam curse the sons of Israel, and again and again Balaam blessed them. What strength every pastor should take from the repeated statements of Balaam in the face of his king's wrath...

So Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come now to you! Am I able to speak anything at all? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I shall speak.” (Numbers 22:38)

And:

(Balaam) replied, “Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?” (Numbers 23:12)

Finally, it was too much and the king's anger "burned against Balaam":

Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have persisted in blessing them these three times! Therefore, flee to your place now. I said I would honor you greatly, but behold, the LORD has held you back from honor.” (Numbers 24:10-13)

Yes, preaching that is faithful to God and His people will deny us the honors of this world, the honors of the church, even. But let us grow in faith as we watch Balaam refuse to alter God's Words:

Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you had sent to me, saying, ‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything contrary to the command of the LORD, either good or bad, of my own accord. What the LORD speaks, that I will speak’?" (Numbers 24:12, 13)

This is how to live in the midst of our evil generation. No matter how many of the baubles of this world in the form of preferments, promotions, tenure, doctorates, conference invitations, large commitments to the church's capital campaign, growth in membership, respect among our denomination's church-planters, dinner invitations to the rich man's house, and a festschrift at the end of our academic career we are offered to betray the Word of God, we must never do so. We must never speak anything contrary to the command of the Lord.

What the Lord speaks, we must speak—no more and no less. A preacher of righteousness is to fear God, not man. He is to desire the fruit of godliness rather than the honor of this world's kings and kingmakers.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

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Comments

Thanks. I needed this. I turn to this page more and more for encouragement on faithful preaching in this dark hour, rather than the 'stars' of our evangelical fellowships. Thanks for being willing to stand firm, and thanks for refusing to bow down at the altar of Baal.

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