Bible Study March 5

March 5, 2023

I once owned a book I think the title was Dr. Balaam’s’ Talking Donkey but I am not certain it has been a few years. In fact forty-three years to be exact. Today we read form Numbers chapter 21 and 22.

Chapter 21 –

The next challenge for the Israelites was from the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in Negev, the desert region in the south that is now called Israel. Instead of letting the Israelites pass he attacked them and captured some of them as prisoners. As they attacked the king God gave them victory.

Moses knew he could not pass through Edom so he takes a route going straight up from the south after what had happened with Arad. Again the people complain you would think by now they had learned their lesson but no go. As a result of their complaining God sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit them do that many of the Israelites died. When the people confessed their sin Moses interceded for them. The Lord told Moses to make a snake image and mount it on a pole so that anyone who had been bitten could look upon it and recover. Moses obeyed and those who followed his instructions lived.

Verses 10 – 20 list the places on the Israelites journey. It did not take for two formidable enemies to appear. The first King Sihon of the Amorites Moses as he had done with Edom, he asked permission to pass through which was also denied. But unlike Edom’s king he gathered his whole army and fought against Israel. Big mistake Israel struck back and took possession of his land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River.  

The other king Israel had to confront was King Og of Bashan who also came out against Israel with his whole army. He too lost because God had already given the land to the Israelites.

Chapter 22 –

They finally arrive near the Jordan River across from the city of Jericho. We now meet two interesting characters in the story of the exodus.

Balak was the son of Zippor the Moabite king. He had seen what had happened to the Amorites and the people were terrified of the Israelites. So the king decided to hire Balaam the son of Beor to come and curse the people of Israel so that Moab could defeat Israel. He sent messengers to Balaam to come and curse the Israelites. I know that those you bless are blessed and those you curse are cursed. Apparently, Balaam had quite a reputation for getting results. Here is something to keep in mind remember when God made His promise to Abraham ‘to make him a great nation and bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him or treats him with contempt. Balak’s plan was doomed from the start.

Balak sent elders of Moab and Midian to Balaam with fees for divination in hand. Balaam decides to call upon the Lord although the Lord is not usually responsive to a sorcerer but asks Balaam Who are these men with you. Balaam obeyed and sent his guests away empty handed; they again approached him with more numerous gifts and high-ranking officials from the king. Balaam was still uncertain but he approached God who told him to go but not to curse Israel.

While on his way the donkey and Balaam encounter God in way. 2 Peter 2:15 says “Balaam …loved the wages of wickedness.” Balaam followed God when it was convenient and did what suited him.

The encounter with the talking donkey is one of the great stories in the Bible. Finally God opens the eyes of Balaam to see the angel of the Lord who was blocking his path. God sent Balaam on to his destination in order to bless his people through Balaam.

Balak had been waiting for Balaam to show up and he was shaking in his sandals at the sight of the Israelite horde camped at the edge of his land. He warned Balak he was only going to say what God put in his mouth. Balak ignored this and hustled Balaam off to Bamoth-baal the High Places of Baal” Balak was calling on an idol hoping to make Balaam his spokesman.

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