Question: What's your take on the story of balaam? Not the angel and the donkey, but King Balak and Balaam and why Balaam is later referred to as a false prophet?
Answer: As far as Balak is concerned, the answer is quite simple. He was a king who hated the children of Israel and wanted to see them cursed. The only problem with that was the fact that God had already said that He would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel(Genesis 12:3). (Just a quick note of distinction here before I go any further. If you read the book of Galatians, you will see that this warning of blessing and cursing now applies to the Church as well as the Jews and doesn't necessarily refer to the modern state of Israel.)
As far as Balaam is concerned, the answer to this is rather frightening for me as a minister of God who believes in the perpetuity of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in I Corinthians chapter 12:7-10, which includes prophecy. The reason why Balaam is considered a false prophet is not because his prophecies were false. In fact, his prophecies were accurate. Balaam is a false prophet because he was motivated by greed and eventually formulated a plan to entice the children of Israel into idolatry (see 2 Peter 2:14-16 and Revelation 2:14).
Here is what is scary about this. While Balaam's soul was in darkness, he continued to be used by God in the gift of prophecy. Why is this? Well, one reason is because the Bible says, "The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Romans 11:29) This explains why people continue to receive miracles from ministers who are outwardly righteous, but inwardly corrupt. Consider that Jesus said,"Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:22-23) According to Jesus, it is possible for someone to be on their way to hell, but still do great miracles in the name of Christ.
I think the number one thing that ministers need to be cautious of is greed. Greed was the downfall of Balaam, a man with a genuine gift from God, and it will be the downfall of all who are in the ministry to get rich. The sad truth is this. There are those who think nothing of fleecing the ignorant masses by selling blessings from God. (Put in one dollar and get back ten! Give me $100 dollars for a specially annointed prayer cloth to heal your Aunt Suzie!) The sobering truth is this. Aunt Suzie may get healed, but the minister of God may lose his or her soul in the process.