Numbers 22-24…Balak summons Balaam, and Balaam gives seven messages.
Out of fear for the safety of his kingdom, the king of Moab hired Balaam to curse the nation of Israel lest they overrun his country (Num. 22:1–6). We have some further explanation of this in 2 Peter, where he explains that Balaam “loved gain from wrongdoing” (2 Peter 2:15). This is implicit in Numbers 22:7 as Balaam is given fees for divination, a practice clearly forbidden by God (Deut. 18:9–14).
That Balaam affirms his desire to obey God and goes with the king’s men when God commands him to do so (Num. 22:8–21) might make us question his greed. However, God’s anger towards Balaam even when he obeys (v. 22) shows us that indeed Balaam’s motivations were not godly. Like Balaam, false teachers may express a desire to obey God and, like Balaam, speak some theological truths on occasion (23:19, for example). However, the clear presence of greed will always be a warning to us that they are not sent by God.
Even a broken clock is correct twice a day, or so the saying goes. False teaching is particularly dangerous because rarely will false teachers speak no truth at all. That truth is spoken on occasion, however, does not make one approved by God, for even the vilest of sinners have the capability to know and teach true things because they bear the image of the One who is Truth. Remember to take into account the motivations of your teachers as well as the words they speak.