Vol.XV No.II Pg.6
April 1978

Eclipsed By The Dollar

Robert F. Turner

Isaac Errett, founder and longtime editor of "The Christian Standard," republished a series of editorials in 1884, as "Evenings With The Bible." We quote from Vol. l, p.217-f, "Balaam The Covetous." In this day of affluence and compromise these lessons are again appropriate.


"While God's chosen people dwelt alone, there was "no divination against Jacob, nor enchantment against Israel." They were invincible as long as they maintained their separate character, and were true to their mission as "a peculiar people" ... Yet the curse came. It came when Israel was lured from that separateness, by the blandishments and wiles of the enemy, into a compromise, and enticed by Moab's deceitful smiles and false courtesies into a surrender of the sacred trust received from Jehovah. This was the "doctrine of Balaam" — the doctrine of compromise. He taught the Moabites that if they could succeed in luring the Israelites to their idolatrous feasts and revels, they need do no more — Jehovah himself would curse them. So it proved.

And so it proves always. Spiritual Israel has a special mission, the accomplishment of which depends on maintaining the separate character received from God as a humble, pure, truthful, righteous, spiritual people... It is when Israel is enticed into the company of Moab — when that "friendship of the world" which is "enmity against God" beguiles and corrupts the Church — that defeat and disgrace ensue. And right here is the peril of the Church today. ... We write this late Saturday night (June 11, 1881), just as the eclipse of the moon is beginning, and find in this revelation of Nature an impressive lesson. The moon shines with a borrowed light, as does the Christian. The moon reflects the light of the invisible sun, and the Christian reflects the light of the invisible God; and as the soft light of the moon gently but effectively penetrates the darkness of the night and bathes the earth in gentle radiance, so is the light of the Church to reflect the glory of God, in subdued splendor, upon a benighted world, driving away the darkness of ignorance and sin.

But when the earth comes between the moon and the sun, the moon itself is darkness; and when the earth comes between the soul and God — between the church and the glorious Sun of Righteousness --the Church, too, is in darkness. Such an eclipse does not come in a moment. It steals on slowly and quietly, and there is still a partial, but ever decreasing light, until finally the obstruction is total. Thus stealthily comes the eclipse of the soul, and of the Church . . .

Lord, preserve me from going in the way of Balaam for reward. Keep me from that root of all kinds of evil — the love of money. Let me not forget the impressive warnings of Thy word concerning those who are bent on being rich, and have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Preserve me, O my God, from this base idolatry, and fix my affections on the true riches, and enable me to love Thee with all heart and soul, and mind and strength."