I have been intrigued, for a long time, by biblical characters and how they are “refreshingly” inconsistent. Their flaws are obvious: they are not shielded from us. I am grateful that God inspired the Bible so as to include the lapses. Their inconsistencies help me appreciate God’s mercy and grace all the more. I wonder how the experience of Balaam would be written in the modern era. I have attempted such an interpretation. I have included some background and explanations re: Balaam and the “error of Balaam” from: https://bible.org/illustration/way-balaam. I hope the background will be helpful as you read.
“The Way of Balaam
Peter warned against “the way of Balaam,” Jude against “the error of Balaam” and John against “the doctrine of Balaam” (II Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14). God evidently considers these warnings necessary and appropriate for Christians even today.
Yet Balaam, in his day, was a genuine prophet (note II Peter 2:16), possessed great knowledge concerning God, and even received direct revelations from God. What, therefore, were his way, his error, and his doctrine?
• “The way of Balaam” was a readiness to prostitute his high spiritual gifts and privileges for “The wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:14), being willing to preach something contrary to God’s Word for personal gain.
• “The error of Balaam” was evidently his willingness to compromise his own standards of morality and truth in order “greedily” to accommodate those of his pagan patrons (Jude 11).
• Finally, “the doctrine of Balaam,” which even in John’s day was already infiltrating the church, was to use his own teaching authority to persuade God’s people that it was all right for them also to compromise these standards, even “to commit fornication” (Revelation 2:14) with their idol-worshipping enemies.
No wonder Micah (the faithful prophet) urged God’s people to “remember” Balaam and his tragic end (Numbers 31:8).
Henry Morris, Source unknown”, https://bible.org/illustration/way-balaam.
Stubbornly focused, he traveled his course.
Without hesitation, he had no remorse.
Balaam was dressed in his Sunday best suit.
Efficiently traveling the Triple A route.
Exceeding the limit, cruise control set.
An untimely blowout left him upset.
His trusty sedan, he did mightily curse.
Tire changed quickly, back to hasty traverse.
Again, he was halted by mechanical glitch.
He responded with anger, fussed, fumed…and did bitch.
Fixed, and fit as ever before.
He sped even faster, and mightily swore.
The gauge pointed hot, the coolant, it steamed.
Balaam did, too, as he ranted and screamed.
“Curse you, conveyance. I wish you were dead,
Like a beast I could slaughter and shoot in the head.”
But, his focus distorted, such myopic view.
Voracious indulgence was all that he knew.
Not seeing the angel, he threatened his steed.
Not knowing the vision it was trying to heed.
Braying in protest,
With impassioned brass,
“Balaam,” his steed said,
“You are the Ass.”
— Richard L. Brewer