God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? — Numbers 23:19
Have your children ever asked you for something, and then asked again, and then asked again, and then asked . . . ? Sometimes it’s called begging! Perhaps, to bring an end to the pleading, you have responded with, “You heard my answer the first time, and it hasn’t changed.” Often, children do not understand the reasons their requests are not granted. It is difficult for children to comprehend that the things they ask for may be too dangerous, impractical, or too expensive. Telling a child “no” is usually not something parents enjoy doing, but when it is in the child’s best interest, it must be done.
In today’s text, neither Balaam nor Balak were satisfied with God’s first answer. Balak wanted Israel to be cursed, and Balaam was attracted by the rewards Balak offered if he would curse them. Although God had made His intentions for the Israelites very clear, both men kept pushing to have their own way.
As Christians, we might sometimes be guilty of begging God — asking repeatedly with the hope that He will change His mind. There is a time to seek God’s will in matters not specifically spelled out in Scripture. Examples might include employment, where to live, and selection of a life mate. Yet, even in those situations, the principles by which God wants to guide our lives are given in His Word.
We need to be especially careful when dealing with situations that are clearly spelled out in the Bible. If we know what Scripture says on a subject but “self” prefers an easier way, it is dangerous to keep seeking God’s will about the matter. It is possible that if we pray long enough — when we already know what God’s desire or direction is — that we will “feel” God has let us have our own way. However, operating upon such feelings will only be to our hurt. While an in-depth study of how to find God’s will is beyond the scope of this lesson, one thing is sure: God will never lead us to do anything which is not consistent with the Bible.
It is profitable to examine our own lives. Are we begging God about something? Are we pushing for our own way? Let us remember that God’s ways are always based on His complete love for us, and we are greatly benefited by submitting to His will.
The seven altars and sacrifices that Balaam had Balak prepare were, no doubt, a pagan ritual. Even though his approach was in a heathen fashion and his heart was not right with God, Balaam did receive God’s answer — he predicted blessings rather than curses.
Balaam was an interesting character. At times, throughout Numbers 22 through 24, he seemed to be seeking God’s will, and would not do anything that was not allowed by God. Yet, another part of him would have liked to cause trouble for the Children of Israel, although he could not do so as long as they remained true to God. God had blessed them, and all the efforts of Balak to have Balaam curse them came to naught.
Ironically, it was Balaam himself who was responsible for bringing the judgments of God upon the Israelites. He revealed his true colors in the events of Numbers 25. Although Balaam is not mentioned specifically in that chapter, it is clear from other places in Scripture that Balaam was the instigator of this trouble. Revelation 2:14 tells us that Balaam “taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel,” and Numbers 31:16 also reflects this thought. Being unable to turn God against the Israelites, Balaam suggested to Balak how he could turn the Israelites against God — with predictable results. By enticing the Israelites into sin through a mixture of idol worship and sexual promiscuity, Balaam caused the judgments of God to fall upon these people.
Balaam wanted to die the death of the righteous, but the death of the righteous follows the life of the righteous.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Events on the plain of Moab
A. The encounter with Balaam
2. The prophecies of Balaam (23:1 — 24:25)
a. The first prophecy (23:1-12)
b. The second prophecy (23:13-26)
c. The third prophecy (23:27 — 24:9)
d. The fourth prophecy (24:10-25)
3. The influence of Balaam (cf. 31:16) (25:1-18)
a. Israel’s sin (25:1-5)
b. Phinehas’ action and reward (25:6-13)
c. Judgment on the Midians (25:14-18)
Maybe you are facing a situation today where doing God’s will seems difficult. Purpose to follow God and ask Him for grace. He will be with you, and you will be blessed.