When these princes of Balak, the king of Moab, arrived with their presents and gifts Balaam had them stay with him so that he might inquire of the Lord concerning the matter. Numbers 22:12-13 gives us the Lord's answer.
"And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you."
When Balaam did not come, Balak sent another emissary to Balaam promising him even greater honour and wealth if Balaam would curse the Isaraelites. Again Balaam invited the men to stay with him overnight as he inquired of the Lord. "And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, if thou wilt [JST] go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do."(verse 22) Referring back to the Seminary manual we see that "Balaam simply got up the next morning and started on his way. Some have noted that it appears that Balaam had his heart set on the money offered for his services (see 2 Peter 2:15); he left without any intention of following the Lord."
In the Old Testament Gospel Doctrine teachers manual it points out that "God is angry with Balaam for going to Moab, knowing that he hopes for some reward from Balak. While on his way, Balaam learns the dangers of displeasing God when his donkey and an angel speak to him." Three times Balak asks Balaam to curse the Israelites. But instead of cursing them, each time he blesses Israel; Balaam also curses Moab and prophesies of Christ.
Although Balaam would not directly curse Israel, he apparently wanted a reward from Balak badly enough that he counseled the Midianites to entice the Israelites into sin. (Gospel Doctrine Teacher Old Testament Manual)
Elder McConkie continues: "I wonder how often some of us get our direction from the Church and then, Balaam-like, plead for some worldly rewards and finally receive an answer which says, in effect, If you are determined to be a millionaire or to gain this or that worldly honor, go ahead, with the understanding that you will continue to serve the Lord. Then we wonder why things don’t work out for us as well as they would have done if we had put first in our lives the things of God’s kingdom?
What are the rewards of unrighteousness? Do they not include seeking for worldly things when these run counter to the interests of the Church?
And don’t we all know people who, though they were once firm and steadfast in testimony, are now opposing
the Lord’s purposes and interests on earth because money and power have twisted their judgment of what should or should not be? Balaam, the prophet, inspired and mighty as he once was, lost his soul in the end because he set his heart on the things of this world rather than the riches of eternity."
Balaam used his calling and spiritual gifts to get gain; and ended up being killed in the end.
Brother Clayton Christensen said, "It's easier to hold to your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold to them 98 percent of the time. The boundary—your personal moral line—is powerful because you don't cross it; if you have justified doing it once, there's nothing to stop you doing it again. Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time."
Let me refer back one more time to Elder McConkie's talk The Story of a Prophet's Madness. He discusses the inspired words given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. "What a wealth of meaning there is in these inspired words of Joseph Smith, words addressed to people who have testimonies but want to mingle the things of this world with them: “Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
“Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson--
“That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
“That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
“Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. …
“Hence many are called, but few are chosen.” (D&C 121:34–38, 40.)"
I guess the biggest question we can ask ourselves when it comes to Balaam is this (Matthew 16:26) :
For what is a man profited , if he shall gain the whole world , and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?