This chapter is Satan’s attempt to thwart the Lord’s servants from entering the land of promise. Having come to the cusp of entry, having arrived on territory that belonged to another, Israel (unbeknownst to him) is being attacked by an evil force. This attack, however, is not in a frontal military formation, but in the attempt by one to appeal to a “higher” power, a power that really was not extant (22:7). Just as Israel was unaware of this attack, Balaam was unaware of the Lord’s attack (22:22-27). As in the case of Israel, so in the case of Balaam, the Lord’s mercy was protecting the one’s attacked. Balaam’s eyes were opened and he saw what he did not realize existed (by experience); more than that, when confronted, Balaam confessed with a confession that many are guilty of today: “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me” (22:34, ESV). One person calls this a “procedural mistake” (and this is exactly how many think of it today in their own lives), but a mistake or not, he stated it correctly when he said he had sinned. Having arrived, the king of Moab let the prophet know of his displeasure in refusing to come. The prophet, however, let the king know of his impotency – but that did not stop the king from trying!
Application: Balaam said to the Lord, “I did not know you were opposed to me.” A lament that could be (and should be) spoken by untold numbers of people. They go about their business and give next to nothing in the way of thought to the Lord way of righteousness. When thought is given, it is given in a way similar to Balaam. When he knew the Lord was against, then it was that he confessed. Was his heart so hardened against righteousness that he did not think the Lord would know his motivation? What would we see if the Lord opened our eyes? He has opened our eyes….now if we would just see!