A Man in Love with the World
Those who love the world and its allurements will learn the price for that love is incalculable. Balaam became a horrible example to remember.
So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. Numbers 25:3
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? Mark 8:36-37
God warns us to beware of loving the world (I John 2:15-17). In today’s reading, Jesus asked “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Famous conquerors like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Hitler gained large portions of the earth. In science fiction, evil schemers like Darth Vader or Lex Luther attempt to take over the world or the cosmos. They are Satanic figures who repel us.
Even if a real, historic figure could find a way to take control of the world, he would do so at the cost of his soul. Balaam loved the world and he paid the price.
Balaam failed to curse Israel because God restrained him, but he thought of another way to bring God’s curses on Israel. He advised the Moabites to invite the Israelites to the sacrifices of their gods (Numbers 31:16). He knew that if the Israelites participated in what would end up being a wild orgy, God would unleash His wrath upon them. The scheme worked for a while, but the guilty, including Balaam, were executed and God’s wrath was satisfied.
Think about it
Let this be a lesson to us. Beware of what you love. Beware of loving the wealth, pleasures, power, and prestige which this life affords. People in ancient Israel died because they failed to be vigilant against these temptations. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, we learn that no one is innocent of sin. Only by repenting of our spiritual adultery and trusting in the One who died for His elect people can the sentence of death be stopped.
Love not the world. Love the Creator of the world, of all things, and of us.