And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
Numbers 22:12 NKJV
The king of Moab, Balak, was very afraid of the children of Israel and sent a delegation to Balaam asking him to come and curse these people.
Balaam told the men to stay overnight and he would see what God had to say.
Numbers 22:12 is God’s response.
However, Balak doesn’t like this answer and sends another message.
Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they. 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; for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”
Numbers 22:15-17 NKJV
Balaam already knows what God said, however he chooses to ask the Lord again.
And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.”
Numbers 22:20 NKJV
He was only to go: “if the men come to call you”.
So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.
Numbers 22:21 NKJV
The Bible doesn’t record the men coming to call, instead it records Balaam getting up early, saddling his donkey, and going with them.
Not a good choice.
Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him…
Numbers 22:22a NKJV
The next several verses are an incredible story of Balaam’s donkey saving his life, not once but three times from the Angel of the Lord, sent to kill Balaam.
And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.” And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord , “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.” Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
Numbers 22:32-35 NKJV
This is very clear, speak only what God tells him to.
The scriptures go on to tell of many words of blessing God had him speak over the children of Israel.
Balak isn’t happy about it and at one point tells Balaam not to speak at all: Numbers 23:25.
The story seems over in Numbers 24:25, Balak and Balaam both return to their homes, but Numbers 25:1 is actually directly linked to Balaam.
Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.
Numbers 25:1 NKJV
We know this harlotry is from advice given to Balak by Balaam.
And Moses said to them: “Have you kept all the women alive? Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Numbers 31:15-16 NKJV
God made it very clear Balaam was not to harm the children of Israel in any way.
He spoke clearly to Balaam about them.
Balaam was nearly killed by God three times on the way to Balak.
God allowed only blessings to be spoken about the children of Israel.
And yet Balaam gave counsel which opened a temptation many men fell into and a plague struck the children of Israel.
Yes, those men who committed harlotry were equally to blame.
Those Moabite women who committed harlotry were equally to blame.
But we can only wonder if so many lives would have been spared if Balaam had simply followed God’s Word.
For God sent the children of Israel to deal with this.
They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed— Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword. Numbers 31:8 NKJV
Because Balaam would not heed the signs God gave him, signs of warning, it cost him his life as well as many others.
It’s a valuable lesson.
Seek God’s counsel.
Know His Word.
Heed God’s warnings.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this lesson. Although it is a sad story, Your will and warnings were clear. Thank You that is still true today. You speak to us and You warn us. Please let us heed Your Word and Your will. Let our ears and hearts be open and teachable. Please Lord, help us to be mindful of Your truths and walk in Your ways. Thank You for being the unchanging God Almighty. Thank You for Your faithfulness and truth. Amen.