Balak, son of Zippor was king of Moab at the time that Israel was conquering the land everywhere.
Fear came upon him as he realized that they were so prosperous.
So, he sends messengers to Balaam (son of Beor). Balak wants Balaam to curse the Israelites because they are too mighty for him (v6). Balak believes that this will give him the edge since he who Balaam curses is cursed and he who he blesses is blessed.
This is the power of life and death at work. But, Balak doesnt understand that everyone can bless and curse. He does, however, realize that a prophet has the ability to release words that carry the weight of heaven. Their guns are loaded.
So, the elders of Moab and Midian departed with the diviner’s fee to go to Balaam.
1) False prophecy starts with the need to bring death upon another. God’s word brings life.
2) Secondly, when someone wants to pay you for the release of that word, trouble is brewing.
Balaam’s response is to seek God. He says to stay the night, and he will bring back the word.
V. 9 God comes to Balaam and says, “who are these men with you?” This is so typical of the LORD. He asks a question that He knows the response already to get us to state out loud what is being done. He asks Satan in Job, “where did you come from?” He asks Adam, “who told you that you were naked?” And on and on.
Balaam proceeds to give God the information (as if He needed it).
v12. God says that he will not curse them because they are blessed. Why is it that we need to go to the LORD and seek His approval for things that we already know His will on? Selfish ambition is a snare.
v13. Balaam holds true to the LORD’s desire and tells the princes of Moab to go their way. “Princes”. This is a big deal. Princes rule over geographic regions just as territorial spirits or principalities do in the spirit world. The LORD was in process of taking land for the Kingdom, and it started the battle. The principalities rise up and start to try to use one of God’s own to bring disaster upon His own. He does this first with money. The temptation…
v.15 So Balak ups the ante. “Then Balak again sent princes more numerous and more “honorable” (means distinguished) than they. The second phase of the battle was to send higher princes and more of them.
v. 16 “And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: “Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me:
v. 17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. There fore please coe, curse this people for me.”
The devil comes at Balaam just as he did Jesus. “Just do what I say, and all this will be yours. I will do whatever you want. I will give you the kingdom and great honor.” The second temptation went past money and moved into prideful desires and ungodly authority. This was a direct challenge to the LORD’s directive to Balaam. “Do not go”, says the LORD. So, Balak sends greater princes and more of them and tempts Balaam with honor and power.
v. 18 Balaam answers correctly: “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.”
Obedience is the key for the prophet. You must listen and obey.
v. 19 Balaam asks them to also stay that he might inquire of the LORD. Sometimes, ungodly requests become godly opportunities, if we are willing to move foward in careful obedience.
in v20 God tells Balaam that if the men come to call him, he should rise up and go with them. But, he should only do what He says.
v21 So, Balaam gets up in the morning and went. Partial obedience doesnt get it. The men did not come to Balaam.
v22 “Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Agnel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.”
God knew what awaited Balaam. His disobedience got the LORD angry. So, grace shows up, and the donkey sees the Angel of the LORD about to kill Balaam. Sometimes, God sends all kinds of warnings to us when we move out against His will. But like Balaam, we tend to want to miss the signs and keep moving forward in our own ambition.
Three times the donkey sees the Angel. Three times, Balaam strikes the donkey – the last with his staff. Note that the donkey was a female. The response, “what have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Jesus asked a similiar question when He was on trial.
v29 “And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you ahve abused (mocked) me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”
This is a big deal. When we start moving out in our own ambition, we can really get deceived. Lying spirits show up and tell us that we are moving out in obedience. God sends messengers to stop us. He speaks to us through all kinds of vehicles. And, we must be on guard … here, Balaam says that the donkey is mocking him. That is a lying spirit. It is amazing that he isnt freaking out that a donkey is talking to him. He would rather blast the donkey for mockery.
v 31 “Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in teh way with His drawn sword in His hand, and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.
My story about the Hebrews 12 period. I heard God say not to look for a job the second time, and it ended up costing me a year plus 18 months of separation with my wife. Finally, I met the Angel of the LORD myself, and He told me to change or I would die. It was truly a Balaam moment. I just knew that I heard God better than anyone else and would not listen to those that He brought to me. But, the LORD chastens the ones that He loves.
v 32 The Angel of the LORD rebukes Balaam for striking the donkey and then tells him “Behold, I have come out to stand (as an advesary) against you, because your way is perverse (contrary) before me.”
Sometimes, the resistance that we feel isnt the devil. We start rebuking and casting things out thinking that we are in line with God, when we are actually way out of His will and moving in the opposite direction. So, He becomes our adversary.
v34 Balaam repents. “I have sinned… if it displeases You, I will turn back.” He comes to revelation and quickly moves back into submission. Submission and humility brings us back into alignment with the LORD.
v.35 God uses our disobedience for His good. Now, He tells Balaam to go and only say what He speaks to him. Gifts are irrevocable. Repent when you mess up.
Balak meets Balaam at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon (Arnon means “rushing stream”).
v37 Balak rebukes Balaam. “Didnt I call you? Am I not able to honor you?
Do you think that Balaam cared much about Balak’s ability to honor him at this point? Do you think that obedience to a wicked king was first on his mind after the donkey?
v38. He gives it to Balak with both barrels: “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? Teh word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.”
He is back on track to where he was before he left that morning. The LORD does a good work.
v40 So, Balak’s response is to bribe him. He offers oxen and sheep and sent some to Balaam…