Don’t Be A Fool, Learn From The Donkey - Life Lessons From Balaam

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


Who was Balaam? 

The name "Balaam" means "destroyer of the people."  

Balaam was a pagan seer. He was the son of Beor and was from the town of Pethor. He was not an Israelite, and therefore, not one of God’s chosen people. Balaam was a diviner by trade (Joshua 13:22). A diviner is one who attempts to predict future events or reveal occult things by supernatural means. Apparently, this ability was based on witchcraft.

Albert Barnes states that he was a “celebrated soothsayer, in Mesopotamia”. Furthermore, King Balak assumed him to be one who practiced magic, as his messengers brought with them a “diviner’s fee” to give to Balaam if he would agree to curse Israel (verse 7). And the scriptural account plainly tells us that Balaam had sought to use “sorcery” (Numbers 24:1).

But faithful prophets of God did not practice sorcery or take diviner’s fees. They were not paid fees for faithfully delivering messages from God. The messages they delivered were often unpopular, and it was quite common for them to suffer the wrath of the recipients to whom they had delivered the messages.

Balaam was thus a mercenary prophet of the worst kind. He was famous, self-willed, double-minded, eloquent, presumptuous, and an evil counselor.

It is interesting, as we look at the account, that though Balaam was a sorcerer, a wizard, he also knew about the God of Israel. He refers to Him by His covenant name, Jehovah. He was a man who had an immense amount of truth about the true God. He came from the same area as Abraham and perhaps there was a great deal of truth about God available to men there at this time. And yet he drew from occult sources, from demonic sources. Balaam did not know God.

He was a man of many mixtures. He spoke like a child of God, but he acted like a child of the devil. He never said anything wrong, but he never did anything right. We are delighted by his words, but we are disgusted by his deeds. His head was filled with things of the Spirit, but his heart was filled with things of the flesh. He wanted to know the will of God, but he didn't want to do it. He wanted to die the death of the righteous, but he died the death of a fool. He had a form of godliness, but it had no control over his life. 

Is your life like Balaam? You look like and talk like you know God, but you do not have a relationship with Him?


“God isn't looking for a bunch of actors. He is looking for people who are sold out to His plan and purpose.” – Anna Aquino


Lord, search me and help me examine my life to check if I really belong to You. Amen