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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

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CONTEXT

PART 6: An Attempt to Undermine Israel [Balaam]

In part six we have an extreme attempt to curse Israel – which the Lord foils – but then the nation succumbing to temptations that follow the advice of the Seer.

Ch.22: [Action] Balaam called & Permission Given

•  God deals with a greedy seer

Ch.23: [Action] Balaam's First & Second Messages

Ch.24: [Action] Balaam's Third to Seventh Messages

Ch.25: [Action] The Seduction of Israel

•  the outworking of Balaam's advice

     

 

FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 23: Balaam's First & Second Messages

 

v.1-6 Balaam's First Preparation
v.7-12 Balaam's First Message
v.13-17 Balaam's Second Preparation
v.18-26 Balaam's Second Message
v.27-30 Balaam's Third Preparation

 

 

v.1-6 Balaam's First Preparation

 

v.1 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”

v.2 Balak did as Balaam said, and the two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

v.3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet with me. Whatever he reveals to me I will tell you.” Then he went off to a barren height.

v.4 God met with him, and Balaam said, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I have offered a bull and a ram.”

v.5 The Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

v.6 So he went back to him and found him standing beside his offering, with all the Moabite officials.

 

[Notes: Balaam goes through a religious ritual, a copycat version of the offerings of Moses. He pauses to seek the Lord and the Lord says He will give him a word.]

 

 

v.7-12 Balaam's First Message

 

v.7 Then Balaam spoke his message: “Balak brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains. ‘Come,' he said, ‘curse Jacob for me; come, denounce Israel.'
v.8 How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?
v.9 From the rocky peaks I see them, from the heights I view them. I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.
v.10 Who can count the dust of Jacob or number even a fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my final end be like theirs!”

v.11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”

v.12 He answered, “Must I not speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

 

[Notes: In his ‘word' he recounts what has happened [v.7] but declares he is unable to curse what God has blessed [v.8]. He sees Israel [v.9,10] a unique people, a righteous people of God. Balak is upset.]

 

 

v.13-17 Balaam's Second Preparation

 

v.13 Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will not see them all but only the outskirts of their camp. And from there, curse them for me.”

v.14 So he took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Pisgah, and there he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

v.15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I meet with him over there.”

v.16 The Lord met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

v.17 So he went to him and found him standing beside his offering, with the Moabite officials. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?”

 

[Notes: Let's try a different location – you might get better reception there!!!. Pisgah was possibly a higher mountain. Again more altars, more offerings. The Lord gives him another word.]

 

 

v.18-26 Balaam's Second Message

 

v.18 Then he spoke his message: “Arise, Balak, and listen;   hear me, son of Zippor.
v.19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act?  Does he promise and not fulfill?
v.20 I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

v.21 “No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them.
v.22 God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox.
v.23 There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob   and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!'
v.24 The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till it devours its prey and drinks the blood of its victims.”

v.25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!”

v.26 Balaam answered, “Did I not tell you I must do whatever the Lord says?”

 

[Notes: So far Balaam stays on track. He speaks truth about God and about this people whom God has chosen and blessed. Balak is annoyed – if you can't say something bad about them, say nothing!]

 

 

v.27-30 Balaam's Third Preparation

 

v.27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.”

v.28 And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland.

v.29 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”

v.30 Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

 

[Notes: Let's try a different place, the top of Mount Peor. More altars, more offerings. This is getting costly! ]

   

    

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 24