BALAAM AND THE DONKEY


Numbers 22-24 and 31:1-17

Just before Israel marched across the Jordan River to begin their conquest of Canaan they stopped in Moab to camp. Balak, the king of Moab was worried that they would go to war against him so he summoned a Pagan prophet named Balaam to curse Israel so Moab would not be conquered.

Balaam had a reputation for being a successful magician of sorts. The people he blessed were blessed and those he cursed were cursed (Numbers 22:6). But the Lord told Balaam not to go to Balak because Israel was blessed.

But Balaam was going to go to Balak anyway because he was greedy (2 Peter 2:15). So the Lord changed his mind and told him he could go but only if he said what God told him to say.

During the journey, Balaam’s donkey sees an angel in front of them three times and tries to turn away. Balaam becomes angry and beats his donkey each time. After the third time, the angel opens the donkey’s mouth and it asks Balaam why he is beating him.

After this Balaam’s eyes are opened and he too sees the angel. The angel tells Balaam that God is displeased with his recklessness and that he is not to curse Israel but is to say what God tells him to say.

After Balaam arrives in Moab Balak asks him to curse Israel but God intervenes and Balaam’s curses are turned to blessings instead (Nehemiah 13:2).

Twice more the King of Moab tells Balaam to curse Israel and twice more he blesses them instead. Even though Balaam was disobedient God still used him to bless His people.

Later Balaam’s sin costs him his life when he is killed for enticing the Israelite men to take Moabite wives when God told Israel to kill all of the Moabites
(Num. 25:14-16 & 31:8,16).

The New Testament mentions Balaam three times and each time he is used as an example of a hypocritical teacher who betrays God’s people for money
(2 Peter 2:15, Jude 11, Revelation 2:14).

Brethren one thing I learnt from this lesson is when a person is set in their own ways, they become angry and the result is to lie or speak untruth. Even though you are forbidden to take action the spirit of pride and fame will make you do the very opposite. It is easier to sin when you are angry, but a little talk with Jesus will make it right.

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