When Balaam could not curse the people of Israel because the blessing of God was upon them, he gave King Balak an idea. Balaam helped Balak understand how to bring the people of Israel into sin that would dishonor God and bring his judgment upon them.
Numbers 25:1-3 – 1 While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. 2 These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.
What was the plan? An evil government opposed the people of God, but that government was unable to harm the nation. So, the evil government used two strategies to weaken and attempt to destroy God’s people.
One strategy is the strategy of false religion. The Moabite women invited the Israelite men to join them in worship of their false deity. The trick was to call the people of Israel to be a little more open-minded. The trick was to get them to accept as worthy of worship someone other than the Lord, Yahweh, the God of the Bible.
The second tactic, tied closely to the first, was to get the people of Israel to compromise themselves morally by participating in sexual immorality. This, of course, was a part of the Moabite worship. God designed humanity with clear standards of right and wrong as regards our sexuality. God made those standards clear to Israel. Israel three times agreed to follow God’s standards. And Balaam knew that, if Israel were to compromise here, they would face God’s wrath.
Christians, the strategies of Satan have seldom changed. The three points we see in the verses above are the same three points of attack we have always seen oppose the church. Even in our world today, they are active.
There are evil governments in the world that are opposed to the faith. In some places, we see governments attempt to outlaw the faith and forbid freedom of religion—think China and North Korea. In other places, we see governments attempt to make faithful followers of the Lord unwelcome in the local economy—think right here in the United States and cases of bakeries and florists being harassed by those who hate that they will not applaud events they religiously oppose. The devil is still using politics and political leaders, the state and the force it can bring to bear, to try to push people away from the faith.
The devil surely still uses false religion. This includes religions that worship a God other than the God of the Bible. But it is also present in the community that calls itself Christian. Churches are becoming more and more unclear about the gospel, about significant issues in the word, and about what is right and wrong in society. Doctrinal compromise had led many a church to barely resemble biblical Christianity.
And, of course the destruction of souls through sexual immorality is prominent in our world. Whether it be the obvious evil of pornography, the social confusion on issues relating to gender, or the more hidden evil of compromise in the mind, the devil loves to lead people away from the Lord and his standards regarding our sexuality. Even in the church, there is a present-day move to minimize the significance of sexual sin. But, Christians, you must understand that God is clear that rebellion against him and his standards in the area of sexual immorality is devastating.
What then do we do when the world is full of evil governments, false religion, and sexual immorality? We cling to the gospel. WE cling to the word of God. We seek to avoid compromise. We confess our sin and repent when there has been compromise in our past. God is gracious. The blood of the Lord Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
And, we keep our guard up. Satan’s tricks have not changed. His schemes to use government, false religion, and sexual immorality have not changed. Take the attack seriously. Trust in the Lord. And fight, with the word, in the Spirit, for the glory of God.