3. a. Balak’s reaction to the Israelites encampment—
- Saw everything the Israelites did to the Amorites
- The people were terrified by the number of Israelites.
- This mob will devour everything in sight!
- A vast horde of people
- They cover the face of the earth and are threatening me.
- They are too powerful for me.
Balak’s reaction is a direct fulfillment of God’s promise in Exodus 23:27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and create panic among all the people whose lands you invade. I will make all your enemies turn and run.” NLT
b. Balak sent for Balaam to curse the people of Israel.
He thought perhaps if Balaam cursed them, he might be able to conquer them and drive them from the land.
c. Balak could have resorted to other methods to deter the Israelites—
- He could have asked others he trusted for counsel. But the people of Moab were terrified also. Numbers 22:3
- He could have attempted to negotiate or make a treaty.
- He could have tried to intimidate them with his own army or with threats.
- He could have asked other kings and their armies to join him in an attack.
- He could have humbled himself before God and asked for mercy.
He seemed to know or think supernatural intervention was the only defense against Israel, or perhaps his fear didn’t allow him to think rationally.
d. Whether motivated by race, religion, issues, political alliances, or fear, individuals and groups attack each other.
- Verbal attacks face to face, gossip, public media, and blog comments. (I receive those from time to time.)
- ISIS intimidates through threats, videos of murder victims, etc.
- Hitler systematically abused, imprisoned, starved, and mass-murdered about 6 million Jews and 11 million others because he considered them “subhuman, inferior, undesirable or dangerous.” The world population of Jews was reduced by 30%, according to this article.
- Other examples of genocide—
- September 11 terrorist attacks 2001
4. a. The story of Balaam and his talking donkey fascinates me.
This is the first time I’ve looked up every mention of his name in scripture. He even turns up in the book of Revelation.
I don’t know Balaam’s status with God. There are other prophets or priests of God mentioned in the Bible who weren’t officially sanctioned.
Balaam, a non-Israelite prophet, seems to have a relationship with God. Consulting God on a matter appears normal for him. In verse 11, he says “I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord my God.”
But then, he was a prophet for hire. Balak sent money to pay him to curse Israel. Then he sent more officials and more money. That got Balaam’s attention. He agreed to ask God again even though God already answered the question.
According to Revelation 2:14, Balaam, although afraid to curse Israel, “showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin.” (NLT) So, he caused Israel to stumble. That’s certainly an evil thing.
Joshua 13:22 says Balaam practiced divination which was forbidden by God. (Leviticus 19:26) Balaam wasn’t an Israelite and was unaware of this unless God had revealed it to him.
Interestingly, a discovery was made in Jordan of an inscription containing prophecies of Balaam. He specialized in animal divination, slaughtering animals for his prophetic purposes. So Balaam was used to hearing God “speak” through animals, if not always so directly. The Voice (comment on Numbers 22:4)
Even true believers make bad choices. Money corrupts more often than we even know. Because most pastors depend on the salary provided, they are faced with pressure to compromise. Members with money threaten to leave the church or withhold contributions if their demands are ignored.
Sometimes the majority of a congregation doesn’t like a move of God that disrupts the status quo. I’ve seen that happen many times.
Church growth seminars are popular these days. Some advocate compromising the gospel. They mention the name of Jesus less often. Blood sacrifice—probably never.
I’m so proud my dad put God before man. It cost our family big time, but to this day, I know he did the right thing.
Back to Balaam. I’m back and forth on his status with God. We really don’t know his heart. Only some of his actions. I wonder who discipled him, if anyone. How did he know the one true God?
He later died at the hands of the Israelites.
What do you think? Do you think we will see Balaam in heaven?
b. From the story of Balaam I learned—
- Keep my heart pure before God.
- Seek to please Him.
- Don’t be swayed by “important people” or their money.
- Pay attention to God’s direction. If He says, “Go” go; If He says “Stay” stay.
- Don’t ask God to reconsider His answer.
- If I’m not listening, God may try to get my attention in a very unusual way.
- “In all my ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct my paths.” Proverbs 3:6 NKJV
c. If you read the comments on Lesson 23 Day 5, you know about the accusation made against me.
Around 2007, I began this blog after a time of seeking God about His plan for my life. I felt like I was missing something.
One evening while praying and pacing at a small gathering inside a church sanctuary, I heard the imperative— “Write!”
It wasn’t audible, but just as clear, distinct and unmistakable. It stopped me in my tracks.
Just one word. “Write!”
I’ve been a writer since I was about eight. Other than school papers and letters to my grandmothers, what I wrote was for my eyes only. Baring my soul to strangers intimidates me.
But this time, I knew. It wasn’t for my eyes only.
The next day, I started a blog called “I trust You.”
I had no clue what to write about. But I started. I knew if I waited to figure it out, it might never happen.
A few months later, I heard about a revival in Florida. God TV was broadcasting it live. I posted a short blurb with a link to watch online.
The post went viral.
I watched the worship portion every night.
I blogged about the worship and the undiscovered musicians who often led it.
I blogged about the songs.
I blogged the chords and lyrics to In the Presence of Angels which still receives daily traffic. (Roy Fields, its creator, was okay with that.)
The revival eventually fizzled and went offline. I kept blogging for awhile, but family responsibilities increasingly took up my time.
A few years ago, I felt like God was urging me to ask a family member about a Bible study she used to attend. I didn’t know the name of it, if it still existed, or where it met. She told me it was called Bible Study Fellowship and said they probably had a website.
I found two classes near me and sent off an email. After waiting several weeks and attending a welcome meeting, a spot opened up for me.
Every lesson and lecture left me feeling convicted that I wasn’t writing. But since the lessons took up so much time, I had no idea how I could make it work. Soon, I felt compelled to post my answers online.
Detractors will question the source of my compulsion. Other BSF members were and still are posting their answers and at least one seems to catch a lot of flack over it. I’m not posting BSF’s copyrighted material, so what I post is my own. The only copyrighted material I share is short quotes from scripture or commentary with proper attribution.
Believe me, I hate flack. As I’ve mentioned before, I avoid confrontation to a fault.
Being vulnerable in my answers to personal questions is difficult enough. I’d really like to go back to sticking all my notebooks in a box under the bed.
Photo credit By Dvortygirl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons