And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed. — Numbers 22:12
All of us appreciate clear directions. Maybe we have purchased an “easy to assemble” toy or piece of furniture and then tried to put it together without consulting the instructions. The task may not have been as easy as we supposed! Perhaps there were screws or small pieces left over, or maybe the article came out looking totally different than it was supposed to.
At other times we may look at directions and find them completely incomprehensible. Maybe the instructions were translated in another country and the translator was not completely familiar with our language. Or perhaps we were trying to read a computer or technical manual. The directions were no help because we did not understand them.
Sometimes we have clear instructions but we think we can change them. Maybe we have tried to alter a recipe and came out with a culinary disaster. Or perhaps, when traveling by road, we have taken a “shortcut” rather than following directions, and we ended up going the wrong way or getting lost.
Clear directions are important, and following them is just as important. Balaam had clear directions from God, but he did not want to follow them. He wanted the prestige and possessions that Balak offered him. We, too, may desire our own ways at times, but there are always consequences to going against God’s will. Balaam would have lost his life had it not been for the mercy of God.
God used a donkey to get Balaam’s attention and to spare his life. What might God need to use to get our attention? It is always best to obey God and keep His commandments. That is the sure way to have a happy life. It may look to us as if we are forfeiting some of life’s pleasures, but we can never out-give God. Anytime we obey Him, He will make it up to us in a much greater measure — if not here, then in eternity.
Today, is God giving you some directions that you do not really want to follow? Yield to Him, and you will be glad you did!
Balaam, the prophet, was from Pethor of Mesopotamia (Deuteronomy 23:4), the district of west Asia between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Balak was the king of Moab, a country located near the Dead Sea. Balak had become fearful because of the great host of Israelites who were marching near his territory. He wanted Balaam to come and place a curse on the Israelites, so he sent messengers to get Balaam and bring him to Moab. When the messengers arrived, God told Balaam not to go. Balak’s messengers came a second time, and Balaam, wanting to get great honor from Balak, asked God again.
Though God allowed Balaam to go, with the understanding that he would do only what God told him to do, God was angry at Balaam’s greedy urges. Balaam desired to have his way instead of heeding what God had already said. Balaam loved the “wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15), but the incident with the donkey seemed to teach him a lesson, at least for a while. At that point he must have realized that God meant business.
Balaam finished his journey and went to Balak. He found that Balak wanted him to curse the Israelites, but Balaam told him he could only say what God wanted him to say. Therefore, he blessed the Children of Israel and did not curse them. Although Balaam was offered great honor, he must have feared for his life if he failed to obey God — an important lesson.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Events on the plain of Moab
A. The encounter with Balaam
1. The summons of Balaam (22:1-41)
a. Balak’s call (22:1-20)
b. Balaam’s journey (22:21-35)
c. Balak meets Balaam (22:36-41)
It is always best to obey God, and He will work out every situation for us. If God’s way is perfect, why should we desire to walk in any other?