Numbers 22:1-41


Introduction: Chapter 22-24 deals with Balaam and chapter 25 deals with the results of Balaam's actions on the children of Israel.


I.    The first offer.  (Verse 1-14)  Israel is probably camped just east of the Dead Sea, in a valley near the River Arnon which is the border between the Moabites and the Amorites.

A.  Balak is the King of Moab.

1.      Israel has just destroyed the god, Chemosh.  Numbers 21:29.

2.      Chemosh is the god of the Amorites and the Moabites, along with Baal.

3.      Balak knows their god cannot defeat Israel, so he decides to call on Balaam to get God to destroy Israel for him.

B.   Why did Balak think Balaam would curse Israel?

1.      Satan always knows the weakest link to attack.

2.   II Peter 2:15, Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness.

a.   The love of money is the root of all evil.

b.   Deut. 23:4 - The Moabites hired Balaam.  This is a gross sin for a prophet, or anybody else.

c.   Jude 11 - Balaam desiring a reward for preaching.

d.   It's right to pay a man for preaching the Word of God, but it's wrong for the preacher to preach for money.

3.   I don't know if Balaam was saved or not.  He sure didn't act like he was saved.

4.      Balaam will be wrong in everything he does except what he says, and God keeps him from cursing Israel.

5.      Balaam was at "Pethor" which means "soothsayer".  Evidently this was a town full of soothsayers, people who tried to tell the future for money.

C.   The offer to Balaam.

1.      Balak sent messengers with the rewards of divination.

a.   These rewards are what a soothsayer would get.

b.   The world will always try to entice God's people with money.

2.   the messengers didn't mention the name of Israel.

3.   but everybody knew what nation came out of Egypt.

4.      Balaam should have known Gen. 12:3.  God would bless those that bless Israel and curse those that curse Israel.

5.      Balak offered prestige to Balaam.

a.   Verse 6, "...for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed and he whom thou cursest is cursed."

b.   Balaam didn't deny this.  He took the glory upon himself.

D.            Balaam's reply.

1.   He showed a total ignorance of God's will and Word.

2.   He told the men to stay there that night and he would see what God would say.

3.   II John 10 - "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed."

4.   I believe Balaam was more interested in making some extra money than in obeying God.

E.   God appeared to Balaam.

1.      Balaam didn't tell God the nation he was supposed to curse.

2.   God told him in no uncertain terms that Israel was not to be cursed.

F.   Balaam telling the messengers.

1.   He blamed God for not getting to go.

2.      This sounds like a spoiled kid to me.

3.      When the messengers told Balak, they said Balaam refused to curse Israel.

4.   If Balaam hadn't been so hungry for money, they would have understood that God wouldn't let him come to curse Israel.


II.   The second offer.  (Verse 15-21)

A.  Balak appealed to Balaam's sense of importance and honor by sending more and more honorable messengers.

1.      Regardless of who tries to get us to sin, God will never bless it.

2.   We must always recognize the devil's attempts to get us to disobey God.

3.      Verse 17 - Balak says Balaam will have more authority than the king in this matter.

4.      This is really an appeal to Balaam's sense of importance.

5.   We must really watch out for those people that flatter.  They are Satan's deceivers.

B.   Balaam asks God again.

1.   He really should have known better.

2.   God doesn't change His mind, especially about cursing Israel.

C.   God lets Balaam go!!  WHY?

1.   God didn't change His mind.

2.   He is going to let Balaam go against His directive will, but not against His permissive will.

3.   God is going to use Balaam as a bad example.


III. The trip to Balak.  Verse 22-35.

A.  Why was God angry?

1.      Sometimes God will let us do things that He really doesn't want us to do.

2.   He does this to teach us obedience.

3.   God could create beings which would obey Him like a robot obeys its maker.

4.   God wants us to willingly obey Him.

B.   The ass saves Balaam's life three times.  (Verse 22-27)

1.      Verse 22 - God sent the angel with the drawn sword to kill Balaam.

a.   They were in a wide place, and the ass went out into the field.

b.   Balaam struck the ass and brought her back into the path, but didn't see the angel.

2.      Verse 24,25 - The angel stood in a narrow place and the ass moved to the side of the wall and crushed Balaam's foot.

a.   Balaam beat the ass again, not seeing the angel with the sword in his hand.

b.   Psalms 91:11,12 - God gives us guardian angels which keep us from dashing our foot against a stone.  They only protect us when we are in God's will.

c.   Balaam wasn't in the will of the Lord, that's why he dashed his foot against the stone wall.

3.      Verse 26,27 - This time the angels stands in a very narrow place, and the ass can't get away so she falls to the ground.

a.   Balaam begin to beat the ass again for he still doesn't see his danger.

b.   Balaam is not making a very good impression of the "wheels" that came to take him to Balak.

C.   God opens Balaam's eyes.

1.      First God opens the mouth of the ass.

2.      Balaam talks to him like he would talk to a man.

3.   It is possible to get so far from God that our eyes are closed to the most obvious truths.

4.      Only God can open eyes to see the truth.

5.   If we know any of the truth, we can only praise God.

6.   We must never think we are something special, for we are not.

D.  Now Balaam decides he ought to go back home.

1.   It is too late to back out now.

2.   He should have known it would displease God to try to curse Israel.

3.      Balaam is instructed by God to only say those things God tells him to say.

4.      After an example like a talking ass, Balaam will surely agree.

5.      Balaam is not a spiritual prophet at all.


IV. Meeting Balak (Verse 36-38)

A.  Balak is glad to know Balaam is come.

1.      Balak has no hope against Israel if God doesn't curse them.

2.   He would have done better to join them than try to fight them.

3.      Balaam goes to the border of Moab and Ammon, to the River Arnon to meet Balaam.

B.   Balak reproves Balaam.

1.   He gets on to Balaam like he is a child.

2.      When people buy their preacher, they feel like they can treat them like a child.

3.      Balak says he is able to promote Balaam to great honor.

a.   Balak doesn't know that God sets up kings and takes them down.

b.   For that matter, Balaam doesn't know either or he would never have tried to gain wealth or status by fleshly means.

C.   Balaam tries to show that he obeys only God.

1.   It is too late for a stand like that.

2.   He should have made this stand back home.

3.   He is in the wrong camp to make a stand like that.


V.  Verse 39-41 - The ecumenical service.

A.  They go to Kirjathhuzoth, probably a place where Baal is worshipped.

B.   Balak offers sacrifices.

1.   The Bible doesn't say to what God he offered these sacrifices.

2.   If he offered them to Baal, Balaam had no business eating of them.

3.   If he offered them to God, they were not accepted, so Balaam had no business eating of them.

C.   The next day, they go to one of the "lower--higher" places where Baal is worshipped.

1.      Balaam had no business in the place where Baal is worshipped.

2.   but he started this thing out, and God is allowing him to do this for God's glory.