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May 18 – The warped personality of false teachers (part 2)

“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.” – 2 Peter 2:10-16 

Scripture reading: Numbers 22:15-35

Peter continues his identikit sketch of false teachers with a biblical illustration. The illustration he uses is Balaam. Balaam was offered great riches by the king of Moab if he would come and curse the people of Israel. Initially, Balaam flat-out refused to go and did not curse Israel. However, the king sent more men and a bigger offer. And Balaam, probably with hands rubbing together and his bank account details ready to hand out, asked the Lord, again, if he might go – please, please, please??? Oh how dangerous is the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10).

A New Testament equivalent of Balaam is Demas. Described in Colossians and Philemon as a “fellow worker” of Paul’s, in 2 Timothy 4:10 we read that “Demas, in love with this present world, [had] deserted [Paul] and gone to Thessalonica.” Demas loved money more than he loved Christ and was either backslidden or apostate.

1 Timothy 3 tells us that an elder should not be a “lover of money.” 1 Peter 5 offers a similar warning to elders against desiring “shameful gain.” So, watch out for office-bearers, both those in your church, but also those on TV or online, who constantly talk about money. For this is a sure sign that their motives are mixed at best. But give thanks also for office-bearers who serve willingly, eagerly, and as examples to the flock.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for elders who serve willingly, eagerly, and as examples to us all. Ask the Lord to keep them from a desire for shameful gain and/or a domineering spirit.

Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at

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