Q: I understand that God rewards even those people who practice idolatry, magic and such in order to give man freedom of choice. This is understandable if the rewards of those practices are such things as the ability to see the future or to produce diamonds, bend spoons or such. The seeker should be able to realize that these are petty powers that usually stand in the way of the seeker. But when the reward (or result) of corrupt practices is the revelation of God’s Presence, then how is a practitioner of the occult expected to realize he is going the wrong way? The revelation seems to confirm that he is doing the correct thing and leads him to do more of it.
A: The classic example of what you wrote is the wicked Balaam, to whom God revealed Himself in prophecy. However, when God calls to Balaam, the verb the Torah uses is “Vayiker” (וַיִּקֶר) instead of “Vayikra” (וְיִקְרָא). The way in which God addresses Balaam alludes to the impurity of nocturnal emission, called Keri, in Hebrew. In other words, God revealed Himself to Balaam in a manner similar to “a man who is intimate with his concubine, and not with his wife.” Balaam knew this, and could have left his evil ways and come close to the truth. He was familiar with Jethro, with whom he served as a consultant for Pharaoh and knew that Jethro had left all his idolatrous ways and pursuit of witchcraft. Jethro became a Jew, while Balaam cursed the Jews. The same is true for all seekers of Godliness and spirituality.