November 17, 2013    Numbers 22  Balaam  


   I have mentioned this passage in sermons before but have never preached on it.  I was reading this story a couple of weeks ago and was meditating on Balaam and his donkey and felt led to share that with you. 

2.  Saw what Israel did to Amorites   Probably knew what happened to Egypt.  

3.  Filled with dread     Viet Nam 173 Air Borne Brigade

4.  This horde came out with 603K and 38 years later there are 601K men   

Should they fear Israel?    Deut 2:9 God tells Moses do not harass the Moabites nor provoke them to war because I am not going to give you their land.   That land belongs to the descendants of Lot.  You do not want anything that God has not given you.  Moab and Midian were afraid.  The real issue is what does God have for them?   If you do not want God’s will you live in fear.  

5. Who is Balaam?   Good guy bad guy?   Is he a prophet?    Balaam is at Pethor up by the Euphrates River which is about 400 miles north so there is time that is taking place.   They traveled to 40 places in 40 years so on average it was about 1 year for each spot.   The events in this chapter did not happen in just a couple of days. Right?   Think about traveling 400 miles on a donkey.  That 400 miles means other things also. 

He is not an Israelite that came out of Egypt with them.   That also means something else.   Balaam has quite a reputation.  Word has got out on him.  Does it remind you of someone in the New Testament?   Acts 8 Simon the sorcerer read starting 8:9.    It also means that the money that they bring to him was probably substantial.  Balaam is not going to travel 400 miles for just a couple of bucks.   In verse 7 they take the money for divination. 

6.  Balak sends for Balaam and tells him come and curse these people for me.   Did Israel know what is happening here?     Come and curse these people for me.   Do you know what the enemy is trying to do to you?   We do not always know what people are plotting against us.  We do not always know what our government is up to.   We do not always know what Satan is planning against us.   The good news is that God knows.  But it is very important for you and me to check in with God day by day and to be a man or woman of prayer.   The Children of Israel are just traveling and just trying to survive.   Remember that you do not wrestle against flesh and blood.  Come and curse these people is the request. 

Curse them so that I can destroy them.  

9.  God speaks to him.   He is a non Jew who practices divination and sorcery.   In verse 18 Balaam says the Lord my God.    Balaam blesses and curses people and his words come true and God speaks to him.  I find that troubling.   Do you find that troubling?    If God is not causing his words to come true who is causing Balaam’s words to come true?     Is the spiritual world real?   God asks him a question. Who are these men with you?  God certainly knows who they were.  

12.  God tells him do not go with them.  That should be the end of the story but it is not.  Do you get the feeling here that things are not going to go well because it is not the end of the story?  Obey God and all is well.  Don’t obey God and things get mucked up.   Things are going to get mucked up.    Why isn’t it the end of the story?  Well Balaam sends them back and Balak is desperate and he sends more princes and more distinguished princes along with the promise of much reward.  Money, Money and Money. 

20 - 22    Why is God angry?  

23 - 30    What do you think about that?   How does the donkey feel?   How does Balaam feel?  What is God doing to Balaam here?  The donkey saw more than Balaam saw.  The donkey is talking to Balaam and you would think that Balaam would at least think that God must be involved.   Balaam is justifying his actions to his donkey – amazing.   God can use anything and do anything he wants to, to accomplish his purposes.  A talking donkey is no big deal. 

Balaam speaks 5 times 


23:18 – 26 

24:8 – 10   May those who bless you be blessed   Balaam could not curse them. Why?  Blessings and curses are powerful.  He could not curse and said let me die like them. 

25:1 – 9     24,000 people die.   Why did the Midianite women seduce the Israelite men?  Balaam is mentioned in a number of places in the bible.  Two notable verses are 2 Peter 2:15 they have followed the way of Balaam who loved gain from wrong doing.    Jesus speaking Revelation 2:14 who hold the teaching of Balaam who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice immorality.  

What is the end of the story?  

Numbers 31:8   Balaam put to death by Israel   Remember what Balaam said may those who bless you be blessed and those that curse you be cursed.  You might say that Balaam experienced his oracle or his own words.