Word for the World - August 22

Word for the World devotionals from Dr. Randy White

Prophet for Hire

So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and repeated Balak’s words to him.” (Numbers 22:7, NASB95)

The word simony means “to buy religious favor or power.”  It comes from Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8, who saw Simon Peter performing apostolic miracles and wanted to purchase such apostolic power. However, Simon was not the first to want such a buy-in.  In the Old Testament, the “prophet” Balaam was a prophet-for-hire.  Balak the King sent “fees for divination” to Balaam the prophet, paying him a handsome fee to pronounce a spiritual curse on Israel.

If such shenanigans worked, I’d be rich!  I could charge for prayers, spiritual knowledge, and (as the Roman Catholic Church did for years) forgiveness itself.  The truth, however, is that spiritual power and spiritual favor are not for sale. Shame on those who “fall headlong into the error of Balaam” (Jude 1:11) and accept financial, or other benefits, for doing a religious work.  The Scripture clearly teaches that a true pastor is worthy of hire and should be given his wages.  Sadly, however, too many in our world enter the “ministry” for personal gain.  They have gone into the error of Balaam, and Scripture condemns their action.

In His Grace;

Dr. Randy White

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