Numbers 25:3, “And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. “
In Numbers chapter 22 we are introduced to a man named Balaam. This man was called upon by one of the rulers of the land of Canaan (Balak) to curse Israel (see Numbers 22:10). In the end, Balaam declares to Balak, that man cannot curse what God hath blessed (Numbers 22:18).
After a short time had elapsed, the two conjured up another idea. Numbers chapter 25 teaches us that Midianitish women were sent into Israel that they would be joined to them. Balaam was unable to curse Israel, but if they compromised (defying God’s command to not join themselves to the people of Canaan) they would bring a curse on themselves. I’m sure when the men of Israel looked at these women they thought or maybe said, “surely this cannot be all wrong. They look so pretty.” The problem? God commanded them not to do it (see Exodus 34:15-16 and Deuteronomy 7:3).
In Revelation 2:14 we are told about the “doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel,…” The Church at Pergamos, with this allegorical language, is being warned of the strict consequences of compromising with this sinful world. Paul worded it this way in 1 Corinthians 5:6, “…a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump…”
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, what a profound lesson for every disciple of Jesus. Everyday the children of God are tempted to just give in a little. The devil will blind the mind into thinking a little will not hurt and I can probably get away with it. But like all sin “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”
The Church has and will suffer the same temptations. The Lord calls on us to adhere to His Word and walk humbly with Him. The world, the carnal nature and the devil tempts the body to compromise and give in to the world’s ideas. But a little will end up being a lot very quickly.
In flight navigation, every one degree of error on the airplane compass, will result in the plane being off course one mile for every 60 miles the plane travels. Just one degree ends up being a lot after a long distance. In 1979 a passenger jet carrying 257 people left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, there was a minor two degree error in the flight coordinates. This placed the aircraft 28 miles to the east of where the pilots thought they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before. They had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m). Sadly, the plane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board. It was a tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.
In closing, I want to encourage the reader to hold on and persevere in the commandments of God. Why? Because a little will end up being a lot very quickly. I pray that more of God’s children will understand the rich blessings that one may enjoy by obeying God and living “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2). Amen!