A Twisted Heart

The writer of Proverbs said, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (4:23). If we don’t guard our hearts, evil can easily creep in. We may even feel we have developed a heart that loves God, but the ways of the world may undermine that noble desire.

A fitting illustration of this is Balaam the Diviner. If you recall, he was hired by the fearful king of Moab, Balak, to curse the Israelites as they passed by on their way to the Promised Land (Numbers 22-24). Balaam was anxious to go, but God would not allow it. Balak offered him greater fees, and Balaam pestered God to let him go with the king. God reluctantly allowed it, but only if he spoke exactly the words He would give him. But God was upset with Balaam’s duplicity and confronted him with an armed angel and the words of Balaam’s trusty donkey. The animal was wiser than the prophet!

Upon arrival, the expected curse of the prophet against Israel was turned into a blessing. While this made Balaam look faithful to God, he again pestered the Lord in hopes of fulfilling his harmful mission for the king. God would not allow it, and Balaam eventually left for home. But chapter 25 tells us that Israel fell into idolatry and immorality with the people of Moab. Revelation 2:14 reveals that this was Balaam’s fault, for he found a way to teach king Balak how the people could fall. The prophet had stepped around God’s instructions and figured out a way to satisfy the king’s desire to hurt Israel.

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What was Balaam’s motivation in all of this? It was the fat paycheque that the false prophets of the ancient world often received, and accompanying honors. At first, Balaam seemed to do everything right, but his heart had a different agenda. He caused great tragedy for personal gain. Later, justice caught up to him and he was executed by Jewish soldiers (Joshua 13:22). A twisted heart ruined him.

We would do well to check our hearts regularly. We may profess to follow the Lord, but our heart may be urging us to sell out for money, honor or pleasure. Don’t let Satan twist your heart. The results can be fatal.

– Tim Johnson