II Peter 2:15-16.
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
The pronoun which, in v. 15, refers to the false teachers in yesterday’s post. Those false teachers left the way of righteousness and followed the way of Balaam, son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. His story is told in Numbers 22-24. A quick summary here is that Balaam and his servants had embarked on a journey to see Balak, King of Moab. Balak had importuned Balaam to put a curse on the Israelites, who were encamped nearby in the plains of Moab.
Balaam was easily tempted with promises of riches and power. He packed up and took his donkey on the trek. But God was not going to allow Balaam to curse His people, so He set an angel in the pathway to keep Balaam from moving forward. When the donkey saw the angel, she turned off into a field to avoid the angel. Balaam, in a temper, beat the donkey to force her to get back onto the road. But she resisted, and spoke to Balaam in what seemed like a human voice. She warned him he’d be in a heap of trouble if he continued. You can read the rest for yourself to find out what happened.
Peter compared false teachers to Balaam, who was willing to curse God’s chosen people in order to gain some treasure and renown. False teachers are in it, not for God’s glory or to help others, but for their own financial gain and glory.
God used the donkey to rebuke Balaam. Peter calls Balaam’s behavior the madness of the prophet.
It is indeed madness, even demon possession, that convinces a person he is perfectly safe to resist and rebel against God. The prophet may seem to get away with his sinful behavior, but he is ultimately answerable to God. So is every false teacher who comes under the auspices of godliness, but is in truth looking only for his own ends. He is serving Satan in order to have riches and fame during his short time on earth. He is not worried about where he will spend all of eternity.