16. I Cannot Go Beyond the Word of the Lord

The “doctrine of Balaam” (Rev. 2:14) is to seek exceptions to God’s counsel and commandments. From Balaam’s failure we can learn to follow God with humble submission.

“Breaking the Chains of Sin,” Elder H. Ross Workman of the Seventy, Ensign, July 2006
Step by step Balaam compromised his divine calling as his desire to gain the king’s honor grew. At last he was so consumed with the desire for those gifts promised by the king that he conspired to bring a curse upon the children of Israel. He made choices that put him in bondage to his desire for the wealth and power promised by the king. In so doing he lost his life to the sword of Israel—and he lost the spiritual freedom he once had.

“Numbers 13-36: Wilderness Wanderings, Part 2,” LDS Old Testament Student Manual
Balak decided to use Israel’s own God against them. To this end he sent a delegation bearing presents to Balaam, a celebrated prognosticator in upper Mesopotamia, who apparently had a reputation for being able to bless and curse with great effect. Although he acknowledged Jehovah and professed his dependence on Him, Balaam was willing to go against the Lord’s counsel and accompany the men of Balak. The rebuke received by Balaam from an animal wrought upon by the Spirit of God is a singular event in history.

“Prophets, Kings, and Swords: The Sword of Laban and Its Possible Pre-Laban Origin,” Daniel N. Rolph, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies
Balaam is killed by the sword (Josh. 13:22). There is a relationship between kings, prophets, and swords in this and other histories, such as Samuel killing Agag. The sword of Laban plays a prominent role as a Nephite treasure.

“Discipleship and Scholarship,” Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Studies, Volume 32, no. 3
Brigham Young said, “When the will, passions, and feelings of a person are perfectly submissive to God and his requirements, that person is sanctified. It is for my will to be swallowed up in the will of God that will lead me into all good, and crown me ultimately with immortality and eternal lives.” There are so many ways in which one can hold back a portion.