The story of the prophet Balaam is a great example of how the heart can deceive and produce much evil.  Balaam was a prophet in the Old Testament known to hear from God.  He had the power to speak blessings and curses over the nation of Israel as God directed.  An evil king that wanted to curse Israel sought after Balaam to convince him to curse Israel.  He sent men to offer Balaam money to do this evil deed.  Balaam consulted God on this and God told him not to go with men.  Balaam, in his heart, wanted the money so he inquired to God again.  This time God told him to go.  After Balaam started his journey, God placed an angel with a sword in his path.  God knew Balaam’s heart was geared toward getting the money.  At the first appearance of the angel, only Balaam’s donkey could see the angel.  The donkey being scared kept trying fearfully to avoid the angel.  Balaam was at first very upset with the donkey because he couldn’t see the angel, but after it was revealed to him be began to repent.  One thing in particular that the lord said to him was “thy way is perverse before me”.   God knew what was in his heart, while he pretended to serve God, he really just wanted the money.

One of the greatest threats to our relationship with Christ is the condition of our hearts.  It is one thing that can deceive even the most mature Christians.  It can be easy to place the blame for all things evil on Satan or one of his devils, but what they do has no power unless we allow our hearts to be affected by it.  Many times the heart can become evil even outside of demonic influence.  This is why it can be so deceptive and subtle in its effect.

Mark 7:20  And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

Mark 7:21  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

Mark 7:22  Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

Mark 7:23  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Our defilement doesn’t come from the outside, but from the inside.  Balaam wasn’t defiled by the king, but by his own heart.  His greed for money caused him to think he could get away with doing evil to God’s people.

It is my desire that everyone reading this article examine their heart and earnestly ask themselves are they doing and living as God desires.  If you truly love God, live according to his words and break the power of a deceptive heart.