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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

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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 24 : Balaam's Third to Seventh Messages


v.1-14 Balaam's Third Message

v.15-19 Balaam's Fourth Message

v.20 Balaam's Fifth Message

v.21,22 Balaam's Sixth Message

v.23-25 Balaam's Seventh Message



v.1-9 Balaam's Third Message


v.1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.

v.2,3 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him and he spoke his message: “The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor, the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,
v.4 the prophecy of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

v.5 “How beautiful are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel!

v.6 “Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the Lord , like cedars beside the waters.
v.7 Water will flow from their buckets; their seed will have abundant water. “Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be exalted.

v.8 “God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. They devour hostile nations and break their bones in pieces; with their arrows they pierce them.
v.9 Like a lion they crouch and lie down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse them? “May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!”


[Notes: There is something different here: the Holy Spirit comes on him and he pours forth truth about Israel, the prophetic spirit is now flowing instead of simply receiving a picture word from God as he had previously.]



v.10-14 Balak is really angry and dismisses Balaam


v.10 Then Balak's anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times.

v.11 Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.”

v.12 Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me,

v.13 ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord —and I must say only what the Lord says'?

v.14 Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come.”


[Notes: But Balaam now finds himself Spirit-anointed and cannot stop himself when Balak angrily dismisses him. There is more to come from God.]



v.15-19 Balaam's Fourth Message


v.15 Then he spoke his message: “The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,  the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,
v.16 the prophecy of one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

v.17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.
v.18 Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered,   but Israel will grow strong.
v.19 A ruler will come out of Jacob  and destroy the survivors of the city.”


[Notes: He sees because God shows him, one will come from Israel who will be a conqueror and will bring down Moab. Commentators speculate whether this will be David or Jesus. What follows are three short words about other peoples.]



v.20 Balaam's Fifth Message


v.20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and spoke his message: “Amalek was first among the nations, but their end will be utter destruction.”


[Notes: The Spirit keeps flowing. Amalek (the people to the south of Canaan) has been influential but will be destroyed. They are perhaps picked out because they had attacked Israel on their journey from Egypt to Sinai.]



v.21,22 Balaam's Sixth Message


v.21 Then he saw the Kenites and spoke his message: “Your dwelling place is secure, your nest is set in a rock;
v.22 yet you Kenites will be destroyed when Ashur takes you captive.”


[Notes: The Kenites lived in the south west of the Dead Sea. Moses' brother-in-law had been a Kenite [Judg 1:16, 4:11], a secure people brought low. A warning that even those who feel secure in themselves can be brought down by others. We all need God.]



v.23-25 Balaam's Seventh Message


v.23 Then he spoke his message: “Alas! Who can live when God does this?
v.24  Ships will come from the shores of Cyprus; they will subdue Ashur and Eber, but they too will come to ruin.”

v.25  Then Balaam got up and returned home, and Balak went his own way.


[Notes: When God makes a decree, who can stand against it. Even those who bring down others can be brought down so easily when He decrees it. And so it ends – and yet in the next chapter we see that counsel that Balaam brought Barak, helped undermine many in Israel and cause the death of 24,000! Balaam we later see [31:8] was killed when Israel moved against the Midianites – which suggests he actually stayed around, maybe to reap the reward from Balak for undermining Israel.]