“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!” (Numbers 23:10b NKJV).
The above quoted statement is commonly quoted when referring to a dead righteous person and consequently as a prayer for the living. It was the wish of a prophet in the Bible as he was prophesying against/for the people of Israel. However, the prophet, Balaam, that made the statement, interestingly, did not live and die a righteous man. He was son of Boer from Mesopotamia. He was a wicked prophet/diviner/soothsayer endowed with the gift of prophecy (Numbers 22:5-6). He was not a false prophet because he did hear from God, and God did give him some true prophecies to speak. Conversely, Balaam’s heart was not right with God because he specialized in cursing people. He was summoned to curse the people of Israel, and he tried to do so on three different occasions despite the fact that he knew that God did not want to curse them (see Numbers 22-24). He could not curse Israel directly, so he came up with a plan for Israel to bring a curse upon themselves as he advised Balak to lure the people of Israel to sin adultery and idolatry (see Numbers 25, Revelation 2:14). He died fighting against the people of God (Numbers 31:8). What a pity! He became infamous in Bible history (see Micah 6:5). In the New Testament, Apostle Peter described him as someone who “loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15 NKJV). Jude described the apostates as people who “…have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit…” (Jude 11 NKJV). Jesus spoke about the church in Pergamos in Revelation 2:14: “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” (NKJV). Balaam did not live a live of the righteous, and he did not die the death of the righteous as he wished.
Many people like Balaam want to die the death of the righteous, and they want their end to be like the end of the righteous. However, they are not living a life of the righteous. Many of them love wages of unrighteousness like Balaam. They run greedily for profit in the error of Balaam, and they are causing other people to sin because of their nefarious deeds. How can such people die the death of the righteous, and how can their end be like the end of the righteous? It is impossible!
No man can deceive God! You will reap what you show (see Galatians 6:7-9). If you want to die the death of the righteous and have the end of the righteous, you have to work towards it by living a righteous life towards God and other human beings. Start living a righteous and dedicated life now.
In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
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