Balaam (Part 10) - (Num 23:1-10) - Balaam's First Attempt to Curse IsraelSubmitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, December 2, 2015.
Image from bemel.com. For a master copy of the outline, click here: The Story of Balaam To Listen on YouTube, click here: Balaam (Part 10) - (Num 23:1-10) - Balaam's First Attempt to Curse Israel IX. Num 23:1-12 - Balaam's first attempt to curse Israel 1. Balaam has Balak build him seven altars and prepare seven oxen and seven rams and they offer them on the altars (Num 23:1-2). A. Balaam apparently thinks that making a sacrifice will make up for his disobedience. i. Balaam failed to understand that to obey is better than to sacrifice (1Sa 15:22). ii. God desires mercy and knowledge more than sacrifice (Hos 6:6). a. Balaam has rejected the knowledge of God's will (thou shalt not go with them - Num 22:12), and instead offers a burnt offering. b. Balaam has failed to show mercy, endeavoring to curse the people of God, and instead offers a sacrifice. iii. God desires humility over sacrifice and burnt offerings (Psa 51:16-17). iv. Justice and judgment are more acceptable to God than sacrifices (Pro 21:3). v. To love God with all one's heart means more to God than all the sacrifices and burnt offerings one could offer (Mar 12:32-33). a. We love God when we keep His commandments (Joh 14:15). b. Balaam was not keeping God's commandment, and therefore not even fourteen sacrifices would suffice. vi. Rather than sacrifice, God requires us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before him (Mic 6:6-8). B. Remember that God is much more pleased with us when we keep His commandments, live honestly and justly, have mercy on people, and walk humbly before Him, than when we make outward sacrifices for Him. 2. Balaam leaves Balak with the burnt offerings and goes to a high place to see if God will meet him (Num 23:3). A. What do you suppose Balaam is hoping will happen? B. He obviously hopes that God will meet him and give him something to say that will please Balak, else he would have never gone with him in the first place. C. Balak wants Balaam to curse Israel (Num 22:6). D. Therefore, Balaam is hoping that God will tell him, or allow him, to curse Israel. E. This is further evidence that Balaam was just blowing smoke when he spoke so piously about not going beyond the word of the LORD (Num 22:18; Num 24:13). 3. God meets Balaam and Balaam tells Him about all the sacrifices he made (Num 23:4). A. Balaam is clearly trying to get on God's good side and persuade him to let him curse Israel. B. Balaam's sacrifice was an abomination to God (Pro 21:27). C. God cannot be bought off. i. God will not take gifts (bribes) (2Ch 19:7). ii. God likewise forbids us to take gifts for a bribe to pervert justice (Exo 23:8; Deu 16:19). iii. It is a wicked man that does so (Pro 17:23). iv. If God forbids us from doing it, He certainly wouldn't do it Himself. 4. The LORD puts a word in Balaam's mouth and tells him to return to Balak and speak it, so Balaam returns to him (Num 23:5-6). A. This is how God spoke to men by the prophets in times past, by putting a word in their mouths (2Sa 23:2; Jer 1:9). B. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2Pe 1:21). C. God can use the wicked to accomplish His purpose too (Pro 16:4 c/w Psa 17:13-14). D. If God can open the mouth of a dumb ass, He can open the mouth of a false prophet. 5. Balaam gives his first prophecy and ends up blessing Israel instead of cursing them (Num 23:7-10). A. Balak has devoted much time, wealth, and energy to ensure that Balaam curses Israel and has been waiting in eager anticipation for it. i. The expectation of the wicked shall perish (Pro 10:28). ii. The hope of unjust men perisheth (Pro 11:7; Job 8:13-14). iii. God takes the wise in their own craftiness (Job 5:13). iv. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein (Pro 26:27). v. Transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness (Pro 11:3-6). vi. You reap what you sow (Gal 6:7). B. Balaam meant for evil when he prophesied, but God meant it for good. i. God turned Balaam's curse into a blessing (Deu 23:4-5). ii. This is what God did in allowing Joseph to be sold into slavery in Egypt (Gen 50:20). iii. The LORD will use the wrath of man to praise him (Psa 76:10). iv. Balaam had devised his way, but the LORD directed his steps (Pro 16:9). v. Balaam has devised a plan, but the counsel of the LORD prevailed (Pro 19:21). vi. Balaam's way was not in himself, but rather it was the LORD directing his words (Jer 10:23). vii. God will do all his pleasure (Isa 46:10). viii. God showed His righteousness by not allowing Balaam to curse Israel and turning the curse into a blessing (Mic 6:5).