by Jim Cucuzza
The position God’s people are in today is like the position of the Israelites in the book of Numbers. Israel had wandered in the desert as a nation for forty years. Moses was dead and it was time to cross into the Promised Land.
No matter what position we find ourselves in today, the example of crossing the Jordan River will inspire us and give insight into our adversary’s tactics. The scripture in I Corinthians 10:1 tells us that these history lessons “are for our examples” as we move forward into our destinies. They energize our spirits for battles we will face ahead. They infuse our spirits with energy. After all, we “overcome by the word of our testimony”.
The following are some observations that allow us to better understand our position and how to navigate our crossing. They will make the difference between success and failure, and in some cases life and death.
THE STRENGTH OF OURS SPIRIT DETERMINES OUR LEVEL OF SUCCESS
As Christians, we understand that our human spirit is what motivates and energizes us. Often it has been implied that our mind is the force we use to obtain success; however, this is not the case. Our mind is merely the instrument we use to carry out what we already know and desire in our spirit.
Our spirit is the life of our body, in other words it is our “engine room”. If our spirit is not joined together with the Holy Spirit we will sooner or later miss our destiny; but if so, we are unstoppable. The key to true success is hearing His voice.
Remember, the Holy Spirit is not just a force but a person with desires. He has energy and the best part is He is God as much as the Father and Son. Furthermore, He is in us. Our spirit and His are of like nature and He infuses us with His power and understanding.
Our adversary, Satan, knows this dynamic. In the case of crossing the Jordan, he used an age old tactic to “dispirit” them. To be dispirited is to lose the spiritual energy inside. It is when we lose the very ability to both will and do what is necessary for success. Philippians 3:14.
The Bible outlines the process of crossing the Jordan so that we can apply the Word of God to our personal crossings. Let’s examine this process.
FIRST: GOD WILL ESTABLISH HISTORY TO GAIN MOMENTUM
Numbers 21:10 Israel was moving toward the Jordan River and on to the Promised Land. Israel tries to sweet talk their way around their enemies, but they were stubborn and dug in. They needed victory as a reference point to gain momentum.
Deuteronomy. 2:24 shows us actually “the Lord hardened their hearts”. God forces the issue sometimes in order for us to move forward in faith. As a great preacher, Rev. Val Melendez said, “God throws us into the “arena of faith”. God knows the end product of this testing will be us gaining momentum.
Numbers 21:34 Often, the Lord uses past tense in speaking of upcoming battles as “already won”. He would say “I have given them the land”. He is using the language of faith; this builds energy in our spirits. Declaring victory in faith can be the very “decisive point” which energizes us for the battle.
SECOND: THE LORD INCITES OUR ADVESARY TO REVEAL GOD’S STRENGH IN US
The last enemy Israel encounters before crossing Jordan is the king of Moab, Balak. Although he is not the most formidable enemy they have faced, his tactics are similar to those we face on our way to our destiny. Numbers 22:1
Balak knew that Israel was stronger, he even said it. Numbers 22:4. Their previous victories made Balak “sick with dread”. It means to have “disgust, repulsion, and outrage”. This kind of apprehension can incite the enemy to act out of fear. Fear can create an exaggerated response. We see this happening in the earth today. Our enemy has a phobia that is spread throughout the world.
Balak in alarm said, “They are settling next to me”! He was saying “not in my neighborhood”. Get them out!! The name Balak means: “the destroyer”: Moab, is defined as: “waster”, it means to: devour, or swallow, to dissipate, deplete, or scatter. It also means: to misuse, abuse: to ravage, crush, or humiliate. Typical isn’t it. He was formidable and knew how to defeat the Israelites. He was stirred up and incited by fear.
THIRD: OUR ENEMY’S TATIC IS TO “DENOUCE” US TO WEAKEN US
Balak knew the power of words whether positive or negative. To “curse” here means to “denounce publically”. It means: to accuse, charge, blame, attribute fault, or censor. It means to reproach, or criticize. A curse can devalue us in the eyes of our enemies. More importantly it can weaken our spirits by causing us to question our own value.
FOURTH: OUR ENEMY USES INSIDERS TO CONFUSE AND DISCREDIT US.
He also knew the power of using an inside agent. Balak sends for Balaam who was “a prophet of lord” of Israel. Friends carry so much more impact than enemies do and can be used very effectively against us!! It helps tear down our defenses and bring power to accusations. Remember Job? Nice friends! Employing Balaam to curse the Israelites was an effective way to produce doubt in their own abilities and strength.
Numbers 22:9-21. Balaam‘s name means: To accuse, To charge, impeach, or blame, to attribute fault, to censor or reproach, attack, or criticize. He was just the man for the job. There are a lot of people with this character around today! Because they are already close to us, they can get through to our spirit quicker than an unknown enemy. They can drain the very life out of our spirit and render us weak.
FIVE: THE ENEMY WILL USE OUR OWN CARNALITY TO BLIND US.
Balak sent his elders with a “diviner’s fee”, in other words a bribe. Balak knew greed was Balaam’s motivating force and it would distract him. Balaam’s prophetic gift could be bought and this blinded him to Balak’s scheme.
Numbers 21-10: God answered Balaam “No, do not go with Him”, but that wasn’t enough. Balaam got the same answer from God twice and went anyway. He wanted that promised reward. It was in direct conflict with God’s nature and will concerning His people. Balak had read him right. Our adversary knows us and what motivates us.
There were several signs God gave Balaam that he was out of God’s will. First the road narrows and his foot gets crushed against a wall, then his donkey lies down and starts talking to him. It’s real bad if not downright scary when your donkey starts talking back. What does Balaam do? He beats the animal. Why did Balaam not consider there might be something wrong here? This warns us that it’s possible to be a prophet of God and still be out of touch with reality in another area of our lives.
The lesson here do not exercise your gift just where it pays most. A Person BLINDED BY GREED needs divine enlightenment TO SEE THEIR OWN NEED. Numbers 22:20-22
Numbers 22:23 God finally sent an Angel to get Balaam’s attention. Angels are usually commissioned to be our helpers and protectors, but in this case the angel was changed from a ministering Spirit “to a menacing spirit”. Ever had one of those? Not fun!!
SIX: GOD’S TRUMPS THE ENEMIES TACTICS
Numbers 24 Balak took Balaam to several locations that gave him different views, all in order to curse Israel. His motive was to hide the “better part”. You won’t see the complete picture when the devil is meddling with you. A partial and negative view of God’s people will always be the wrong view. There is a lot of negativity these days!
He took him to the “High place of Baal”. Baal was the God of finances. The church seldom looks good from that view! In another mountain view, he used their isolation against them. Our oneness looks like isolationism to our enemies, but we know it is that very oneness that makes us strong. It’s when our spirits join together in the energy of the Holy Spirit that we gain the victory. We can look bad from that view also.
But Balaam saw their oneness and God’s smiling. He saw the positive view. In the end God has the trump card, Balaam now realizes it.
THE WONDERFUL IMMUTABILITY OF GOD
Balaam finally gets this true picture of God’s people. He declares I see “Him” and there are no “enchantments” against God’s people. Witchcraft can’t compete with kindred spirits joined together with the Holy Spirit. It provides tremendous energy. That is what corporate worship is all about.
Balaam prophesizes we will rise up like a “lioness”. Jesus is the lion and we are His bride, God does not lie. God’s faithfulness serves us as “an anchor to the soul”. Hebrews 6:17.
Finally, Balaam adds in his own prophecy free of charge. He tells him they will rule the bow (the mind) of Moab. Moab loses the battlefield of the mind. I think, with God’s help, we can drive the devil crazy and at the same time win the day! Then Balaam says, “I wouldn’t mind ending up like him”. He’s going with the Israelites. Actually by this time Moab can’t wait to get rid of Balaam.
The sad part after all this is Israel finally succumbs to sin from within. It became known as, “The doctrine of Balaam” or “The Error of Balaam”. 2 Peter 2:14 It is defined as “one who seeks to circumvent the will of God so as to obtain their own ends”. Selah!!
Our enemy knows the lack of a decisive resistance from deep within our spirit will always lead to submission to temptation. When Satan sees us hesitating to say “no”, he will know that we desire to say “yes.” Convinced of our susceptibility, he will offer a greater reward.
Finally, God rebuked Balaam for his madness in pursuing a course in opposition to God’s known will. Numbers 22:22-34. He also is used as an example in the book of Jude of one who forfeited his place. II
Take note and please take the time to apply these lessons to life. We are all called to cross over and as for me I don’t want to leave anyone behind.