The historical account of a Seer, a man with the reputation of having his predictions come true. The king of Moab sent word to Balaam to come curse the a people who had come out of Egypt... "for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed." The messengers came with divination money, and repeated the king of Moab's request. Balaam told the messengers to stay the night while he consulted the Lord.
God came to Balaam and asked, who are these men with you? And when Balaam answered and told of the king's request, God told Balaam: DO NOT go with them; you shall not curse the people; for they are blessed.
Balaam tells the messengers to go back, "for the Lord has refused to let me go with you." The messengers went back and simply told the king named Balak, that Balaam refused to come, so king Balak was not used to hearing no for an answer. He sends even more numerous and distinguished messengers with promises of riches and honor. And Balaam again repeats: "though Balak were to give me houses of silver and gold, I could not do anything either great or small, contrary to the command of the Lord my God...but, stay the night, and let me find out what else the Lord will speak to me.
God does indeed give Balaam instructions---"rise up and go with them, but only the word which I speak to you shall you do."
The next verse, 22, tells us that God was angry because Balaam was going, and the Angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an adversary against Balaam---but only Balaam's donkey can see the angel. Three times the angel blocks the way, and the donkey veers off and Balaam strikes her.
Numbers 22:28 says: And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, 'what have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?'
Balaam talks to the donkey: Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.
Balaam's donkey replied: Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?
And Balaam admitted, "no"
Numbers 22:31 says: Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand,..and the angel asked Balaam: why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.
Balaam admits he has sinned, and is willing to go back home. But the angel of the Lord said to Balaam: Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word which I shall tell you.
king Balak does not believe Balaam even though Balaam warns him over and over again---that he can only speak what God tells him to say. king Balak tries setting up seven altars and seven bulls and seven rams, but Balam shouts:
"From Aram Blak has b rought me, Moab's king from the mountains of the East, 'come curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!" How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce, whom the Lord has not denounced? As I see him from the top of the rocks, and I look at him from the hills: Behold, a people who dwells apart, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, or number the fourth part of ISrael? Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!"
Two more times king Balak tries to get Balaam to curse Israel, but each time, we learn more and more about their glorious future.
a people who dwells apart
a people who shall not be reckoned among the nations
as numerous as the dust
Let me die the death of the upright,
and let my end by like his! (is this talking about Jesus?)
God has declared Israel a blessed nation. set apart. Trusted with His Word. His commands. Told to live righteous lives.
Let's look at the second try. Remember, these are God's words coming out Balaam's mouth:
Arise, O Balak, and hear
Give ear to me, O son of Zippor!
God is not a man, that He should lie. (GOD CANNOT LIE!!!)
Nor a son of man, that He should repent,
Has HE said, and will He not do it? or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless, when He has blessed and I cannot revoke it.
He has not observed misfortune in Jacob, nor has He seen trouble in Israel, the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. (Jesus' first and second comings in one sentence)
God brings them out of Egypt, He is for them like the horns of the wild ox. For there is no omen against Jacob, nor is there any divination against Israel; at the proper time it shall be said to Jacob and to Isarael, what God has done. Behold, a people rised like a lioness, and as a lion it lifts itself; it shall not lie down until it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain.
(references to Israel as a lion way before King David...and to Jesus at the second coming again)
Chapter 24 of Numbers shows a different, more confident Balaam:
When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times to seek omens but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his discourse and said:
...Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you."
(verse 17) I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, ...One from Jacob shall have dominion and shall destroy the remnant from the city."
(this is way before Jerusalem was built and way before it was known as the city)
So, when people wonder--the Old Testament speaks of Jesus, from the Garden of Eden throughout the writings of Moses---these promises, these Words from God Himself, that a Savior King Redeemer Ruler was coming. Christmas is when we celebrate how Jesus came to be our Savior and soon He will return to be our King.
And I just love it, how God uses a man on a donkey to bless His people that He rescued from slavery. When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, He fulfilled another promise, but Israel rejected Him as Savior and King. God extended His gift to us---gentiles---and grafted us into His Family.
For 2,000 years a star was promised. Now 2,000 years on the other side of that star, we know God will keep His promises to Israel, promises to restore, and rule from there. And no matter what our silly politicians do to try to bring about a one world government, Jesus will come back and set everything right and rule the nations.
In Numbers 25, the very next chapter, Israel disobeys God's rules, and 24,000 will die in a plague. And it is not until a brave priest picks up a spear, and preforms capital punishment on the fornicating evil doers that God stops the plague, and gives the priesthood of Israel a promise of peace.
As Christians, we should tremble before the Lord and seek His Will and do what is right in His eyes. That means that we as Christians are responsible for knowing God's Word, and rightly dividing God's decrees, and directions and rules for each age.
Numbers 24:23 God says through Balaam: "...Alas, who can live except God has ordained it?" Let me repeat that---for my sake as well as anyone reading:
WHO CAN LIVE EXCEPT GOD HAS ORDAINED IT?
The weather in Texas today is perfect. Seventy degrees, windows open, green grass, beautiful sunshine. Yet, we know of two families were elderly old saints await their promotion to heaven home. Their bodies are worn out. We wait on God's perfect timing to take them on Home where they will be reunited with loved ones and friends. We know of others who suffer cancer, or are tested by an illness, yet all our lives hang by a thread. It is not my job to be angry at the sinners and wish them dead even though they seem a poor and shameful testimony. Only God can give us wisdom to leave it all in His most capable hands. Pray for the oppressed. Pray for healing, but also pray for a good homegoing. God will provide the brave to run a spear through the fornicators and the evil doers. And then He will give those brave warriors peace. Please, Lord, keep me in shape to do the job of wife, mom, friend. Open my eyes to see those in need and show me how to help, not hurt. Root out my pride, and self-righteousness. Help us as Christians not to be wishy-washy, but to be jealous for You. Help us to stand up against evil, and speak only Your words. Please help us set aside petty superstitions and divinations and looking for omens. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
How often does God use an animal to talk? Eve conversed with the snake in the Garden of Eden, and that did not go well. And here, Balaam talks to his donkey, and finds out she has been protecting him from the unseen. Are there any more talking animals in the Bible?