THE KING’S BUSINESS
Men cannot serve God and mammon. Here is a sin so common among God’s servants that it is almost universal and yet it is a sin fatal to the best development of the Christian, one that saps the strength and stagnates the springs of spiritual life. Balaam is not the only prophet that has sought to give out a message for God and at the same time please the people and Balak is not the only person who has sought to have the message of the prophet changed ’to suit his pleasure. Balaam’s heart was not in his message. His heart hugged close to the silver and gold of the-king of Moab. Strange that men should think to play fast and loose with Almighty God. From the lips of Balaam fell some of the most soul-inspiring messages of the Scrip tures, “God is not a man that He should lie, neither the Son of man that He should repent.” “Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his.” “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Is rael: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” The life of Balaam gave the lie to his lips, for he taught Balak to corrupt the children of Israel, who could not be cursed, by tempting them to marry the women of Moab. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways,” but “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The gist of this lesson is in the Golden Text. The law of that new life which we have by faith in Christ is a law of love and love means self-sacrifice, self-denial, self- renunciation. The first lesson is that the saints are bound together; they are a fam ily ; they are one with Christ; they are bone of His bone. The same life surges through them all; they have the same des tination ; they are looked upon as one and they must recognize the full meaning of that relation. The second lesson is that there are some weak brethren. Some of them are so weak Concluded on page 498 L esson VI— N ovember 9, 1913. Golden Text,—Romans 14:21.
We are to build up against the weak places, and fortify the soul where the walls are frail. Moses’ sin was not such as to bring any evil results upon the people but he made God an angry, unwilling God, who supplied their need, not through love or grace, but because He was driven to it through their chiding. Moses’ representation of God was that of one throwing crumbs to a beggar. The Lord was angry with Moses for Is rael’s sake. Deuteronomy 1:37, “Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes.” The punishment inflicted upon Moses ■ seems extreme, but in the light of it we are enabled to measure his sin, as seen from God’s standpoint. Doubt of God’s Word, disobedience to God’s command, dishonor ing God by misrepresentation of God’S character. Heart and mouth should unite in honoring thè Lord. Moses fell into sin, but thank God he did not fall from the grace of God. L esson V— N ovember 2, 1913. Golden Text,—James 1:8. The introduction of Balaam is as spec tacular as is that of Elijah. He comes un announced. We do not know much about him, but what we do is not much to ms credit. He was a prophet of Jehovah, but he was very human. He professed such righteousness that he was willing to swear that a houseful of gold and silver could not tempt him to go beyond the Word of God, and yet the very thought of gold and silver so lingered in his mind that he sug gested a parley over night to see if the Lord would not change His mind and per mit him to prophecy evil against Israel. Balaam wants to be a true servant of God and yet he yearns for the flesh pots of Balak. The word, Balaam, means pilgrim, and Balak, a waste or void, and the pil grims’ message would have been void had he failed to deliver God’s message. There is an awful struggle in the lives of men who seek to serve God and at the same time seek to satisfy the craving of the flesh for . temporal things. The love of money is the root of all evil and covetousness is idolatry.
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