God’s blessing cannot be stopped
1 And the children of Israel set forward, and camped in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho. 2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was terrified of the people because they were many: Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 And Moab said to the elders of Midian, Now this multitude will lick up all that is around us like the ox licks up the grass of the field. Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 And he sent messengers to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to Balaam, the son of Beor, to call him saying, Now look, a people has come out of Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they are living opposite me: 6 I beg you, come now to curse this people for me; for they are too mighty for me: perhaps I will prevail, that we may strike them, that I may drive them out of the land: for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.
- Jericho means ‘city of palms.’
- It is the oldest existing city known to man. It is many feet below sea level—125 inches in summer—and has great resort weather in winter.
- Midian is what we now call the Sinai Peninsula.
- Curses began in Genesis 3 at the fall.
- God put the serpent, woman, man, and the ground under curses that would guide man to return to His Maker.
- Evil has limited power that can be summoned through witchcraft, astrology, satanism, all false religions.
- This power seems to be without accountability to our Maker, to ‘get it our way—get what we want.’
- But it is not.
- All of us will give an account of everything in our lives to God (Romans 14:12).
- In Deuteronomy 18:9-14 God forbid all occult activity.
- It is consorting with evil spirits.
- Jesus cast out many such evil spirits.
7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and spoke to him the words of Balak. 8 And he said to them, Stay here tonight, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD speaks to me: and the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9 And God came to Balaam and said, What men are these with you? 10 And Balaam said to God, Balak, the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me saying, 11 Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, who cover the face of the earth: come now, curse them for me; perhaps I will be able to overcome them, and drive them out. 12 And God said to Balaam, You will not go with them; you are to not curse the people: for they are blessed. 13 And Balaam rose up in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, Get back to your land: for the LORD refuses to allow me to go with you. 14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went to Balak and said, Balaam refuses to come with us.
- It took three weeks to a month to cross the mysterious Arabian desert on camels.
- Midianites were the only people who used camels in those days.
- They were the only ones who knew where to find water in the crossing.
- These Midianites offered Balaam the equivalent of a million dollars the first time and 2 million the second time.
- Notice that Balaam seeks the Lord in this, not evil spirits.
- God explained why Balaam wasn’t to go with the men.
- God always tells us why.
- They came to pay Balaam to curse His people.
- Obviously the answer would be no!
- This chapter shows us the three wills of God. In this verse we have the directive will of God.
15 And Balak sent again, a larger number, and more distinguished officials than those sent first. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, Balak the son of Zippor says this, I beg you, let nothing stop you from coming to me: 17 I will promote you to very great honor; I will do whatever you say to me: I beg you, come curse this people for me. 18 And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please stay here tonight also, that I may know what else the LORD will say to me.
- Balaam was saved because he called God, ‘my God.’
- These people feared Israel for nothing.
- God was not going to allow Israel to harm them.
- But they worshipped false gods and did not know this.
20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but do only the thing that I speak to you. 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
- This is God’s permissive will.
- It wasn’t what God wanted Balaam to do.
- Jude tells us that Balaam’s motive was greed.
- Jude 1:11 Woe to them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
22 And God’s anger burned because he went: and the angel of the LORD stationed himself in the way as an enemy against him. Now he was riding on his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam struck the ass, to turn her into the way. 24 But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself into the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he struck her again. 26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger burned, and he struck the ass with a staff.
- This is God’s overruling will.
- God was angry that the honor and money they promised looked better to Balaam than a relationship with the eternal Creator of all things.
28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times? 29 And Balaam said to the ass, Because you have mocked me: I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now would I kill you. 30 And the ass said to Balaam, Am not I your ass, that you have ridden ever since I was yours to this day? Have I ever done such a thing to you? And he said, No.
- This verse shows us that the angel of the Lord is the LORD Himself.
- He caused the ass to speak with a human voice.
- This shows how bad Balaam wanted the money they were going to pay him.
- He wanted that money bad enough to kill his longtime friend, this ass that he rode on.
- 2Peter 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. 32 And the angel of the LORD said to him, Why have you struck your ass these three times? Behold, I went out to prevent you because your way opposes me: 33 And the ass saw me and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now I would have killed you, and saved her alive.
- Notice that God tries to prevent us from doing things that are against Him.
- Things against Him bring judgment on ourselves.
- Notice also that God cares about this donkey.
- Job 38-42 shows much about God’s care of animals.
- God has blessed and plans to continue blessing Israel.
- Balaam is going with these men to curse Israel.
- We do not see the spirit world around us.
- Balaam did not see the angel of the Lord.
34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I did not know that you stood in the way against me: now, if it displeases you, I will turn myself back. 35 And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I speak to you, that you will speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
- ‘Only the word that I speak unto you,’
- God’s words are better than our words.
- We cannot say that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and then let anything that comes to mind come out of our mouths and say that it is from God.
- Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
36 And when Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him to a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the outer coast. 37 And Balak said to Balaam, Did I not earnestly send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to promote you to honor? 38 And Balaam said to Balak, Look, I have come, but I have no power to say just anything. I will speak only the messages that God gives me. 39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath-huzoth. 40 And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and sent portions of the food to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him. 41 And the next day Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, and from there he saw the farthest edge of the people.
1 And Balaam said to Balak, Build me seven altars here, and prepare me seven oxen and seven rams. 2 And Balak did as Balaam said. Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on every altar. 3 And Balaam said to Balak, Stand by your burnt offering and I will go. Perhaps the LORD will come to meet me: and I will tell you whatever he shows me. And he went to a high place. 4 And God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, I have prepared seven altars and I have offered a bull and a ram on every altar. 5 And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth and said, Return to Balak and speak this.
God is Sovereign over all life
6 So he returned to him and, behold, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he and all the princes of Moab. 7 And he took up his parable and said, Balak, the king of Moab, has brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east saying, Come, curse me Jacob. Come, defy Israel. 8 How can I curse those God has not cursed? or how can I defy those the LORD has not defied?
- This shows us that God is the LORD who controls all things in life.
- In seeking to destroy God’s people Balak is going to destroy his own nation.
- If Moab had helped Israel then God would have blessed them (Genesis 12:1-3).
9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the heights I behold him: look, the people will dwell alone, and will not be counted among the nations. 10 Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! 11 And Balak said to Balaam, What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. Instead, you have blessed them! 12 And he answered and said, Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD has put in my mouth? 13 And Balak said to him, I beg you, come with me to another place, from where you may see them: you will see only the outer part of them, and not see all of them: curse them for me from there. 14 And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on every altar. 15 And he said to Balak, Stand here by your burnt offering while I meet the LORD over there. 16 And the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, Go again to Balak and say this. 17 And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, What has the LORD spoken? 18 And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; listen to me, you son of Zippor.
God does not lie
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; or the son of man, that he should change his mind: has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good? 20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless. He has blessed and I cannot reverse it. 21 He has not seen iniquity in Jacob, neither has he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
- God does not change His mind.
- He does what He says He will do.
- His blessings cannot be reversed.
- The Lord was with them.
- The shout of the eternal King of Kings was among them.
- 1 Timothy 6:15-16 Which in his times he will show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
- Revelation 17:14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
He has unconquerable strength
22 God brought them out of Egypt; he has as it were the strength of a unicorn. 23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: it will always be said of Jacob and of Israel, Look what God has done! 24 Behold, the people will rise up like a great lion, and lift himself up as a young lion: he will not lie down until he eats of the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain. 25 And Balak said to Balaam, Don’t curse them at all or bless them at all. 26 But Balaam answered and said to Balak, Did I not tell you saying, All that the LORD speaks, I must do? 27 And Balak said to Balaam, Please come, I will bring you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there. 28 And Balak brought Balaam to the top of Peor that looks toward Jeshimon. 29And Balaam said to Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here. 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on every altar.
- Isaiah 41:4 Who has worked and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
It pleases God to bless
1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. 3 And he took up his parable and said, The saying of Balaam the son of Beor, the saying of the man whose eyes are open: 4 The saying of he who has heard the words of God, who saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
- God’s Spirit came upon Balaam to speak the Lord’s words
5 How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, and your tabernacles, O Israel! 6 They spread forth as the valleys, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes that the LORD has planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. 7 He makes water flow from his buckets. His seed will be in many waters. His king will be higher than Agag and his kingdom will be exalted.
- Agag was the title of the king of the Amalakites just as Pharoah is the title of kings of Egypt and Emperor was the title for the kings of Rome.
- Abimelech was the title for the kings of the Philistines.
- These were all titles of position and not the name of the actual person.
- God exalts His people. We see this principle throughout scripture—Abraham, Job, Joseph, David, Esther, Mordecai, Daniel etc.
- Psalm 91:14 Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known my name (person).
8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he is for him like the strength of a unicorn/wild ox: he will eat up the nations his enemies, and will break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. 9 He couched, he lay down as a lion, as a great lion: who will stir him up? Blessed is he that blesses you, and cursed is he that curses you.
- God blesses those who bless His people and curses those who curse His people.
- People curse themselves when they curse others.
- That’s God’s teaching system for sinful man on earth so that perhaps we will see and learn.
- Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you will all families of the earth be blessed.
- Jeremiah 4:18 Your way and your doings have procured these things to you…
10 And Balak's anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and Balak said to Balaam, I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have utterly blessed them these three times. 11 Now flee to your place: I thought to promote you to great honor; but behold, the LORD has kept you back from honor.
- God did not keep Balaam from honor.
- All that comes to us is the result of our daily choices.
- We do it to ourselves by our choices and actions.
12 And Balaam said to Balak, Did I not tell your messengers that you sent to me saying, 13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD to do either good or bad of my own mind; but what the LORD says, that I will speak? 14 And now, behold, I go to my people: so come, and I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days. 15 And he took up his parable and said, The saying Balaam the son of Beor, the saying of the man whose eyes are open: 16 The saying of the one who heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, who saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: 17 I will see him, but not now: I will behold him, but not near: a Star will come out of Jacob, and a Scepter will rise out of Israel, and will strike the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
- This prophecy of Christ was given BC 1452.
- God tells the future accurately because He makes the future.
- He knows what all people will do. Ezekiel 1:26-28 is a vision showing what God looks like, showing what Balaam saw in his vision of the Almighty.
- I John 3:20…God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
18 And Edom will be a possession, Seir also will be a possession for his enemies; and Israel will do valiantly. 19 Out of Jacob will come he that will have dominion, and will destroy him that remains of the city. 20 And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end will be that he will perish forever. 21 And he looked on the Kenites and took up his parable and said, Strong is your dwelling place. You put your nest in a rock. 22 Nevertheless the Kenite will be consumed until Asshur will carry you away captive. 23 And he took up his parable and said, Alas, who will live when God does this! 24 And ships will come from the coast of Chittim (Spain), and will afflict Asshur (Assyria), and will afflict Eber, and he also will perish forever. 25 And Balaam rose up, left, and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.
- God prospers and preserves those who trust Him.
- These predictions tell us that this nation doesn’t return to their Maker.
- Psalm 31:23 O love the LORD, all you his saints: for the LORD preserves the faithful, and plentifully rewards the proud doer.
- Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom that which will not be destroyed.
SUMMARY: Numbers 22-24
- God's blessing cannot be stopped
- He is angry and tries to stop us when we go after false things
- He is sovereign over all life
- He does not lie
- He has unconquerable strength
- It pleases Him to bless