Balaam who was once prophet. The Old Testament scripture reveals he had known Yahweh, speaking on His behalf. He knew the covenant promises of God and was anointed. But he went astray. Knowing that he had a great spiritual gift he adopted the pagan practices of requiring money before giving oracles.
Speaking about false prophets, 2 Peter 2:15-16 (ESV) says, “Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.”
Balaam’s error is the selling of prophecies, which I call the prostitution of the prophetic. This is when someone starts off hearing the word of the Lord but then begins charging fees, falling into divination (Jude 11; 2 Peter 2:15-16). It is when dream interpretations are given for a fee and money is mandated in exchange for prophecies, following Balaam’s error. Payment for prophecies is not related to the common practice of ministry offerings.
Ministries that prostitute the prophetic misapply 1 Samuel 9:7 where Saul said, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” Having no bread and no present the servant offered to give silver. At first
The prophet Samuel did not participate in the ‘conspiracy of the prophets,’ which is when treasure and precious things are taken for personal gain and prophesying when the Lord hasn’t spoken (Ezekiel 22:25). Scripture clearly warns against practices like this (Jeremiah 6:13-15; Jeremiah 14:14-16; Micah 3:11-12).
The digital age has provided new ways to
2 Corinthians 2:17 (NIV) says, “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in
Generosity is key to Christian living. We are to be willing to share all good things with the one that teaches so that they make a living (Galatians 6:6; 2 Corinthians 9:7). But our giving to the ministries that help us grow in Christ are not financial gifts given for prophecies. We do not give to receive. Tithes and offerings are basic principles we should apply as we give to God as an act of worship. But we need to correct ourselves when giving is mandatory or manipulated.
Matthew 10:8 says, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” We are to cherish spiritual gifts which we were freely given by God. Loving God and loving one another is how the world will know we are God’s children as we freely prophesy.