Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20020327.htm
NUMBERS: ON SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part XXVI: God's Sovereignty Over Influential Leaders Influenced By Greed
(Numbers 22:1-35; 2 Peter 2:15-16)
Lesson: God shielded Israel from the harm evil, influential men could have done to her to keep His promises of blessing unto the nation.
- The love of money is the root of all evil, including the harm it can to to others as is attested in numerous underworld crimes done against innocent people by greedy criminals.
- God is sovereign over even such evil, influential men as Numbers 22:1-35 reveals:
- God's Sovereignty Over Influential Leaders Influenced By Greed, Numbers 22:1-35; 2 Peter 2:15-16.
- Fearing Israel's advance to the Promised Land threatened his kingdom, Moab's king, Balak sent messengers to a prophet, Balaam to curse Israel so he could protect his nation from her, Num. 22:6-7 NIV.
- Balaam responded to Balak's messengers by housing them so he could inquire of God as to what he was to do about Balak's request, Numbers 22:8. This hospitality indicated fellowship (cf. 2 John 10-11), and meant Balaam was predisposed to accept Balak's money and curse Israel if he could win God's approval!
- God then asked Balaam who these men were who were staying with him, Numbers 22:9. God's question implied He did not approve of Balak's seeking to fellowship with those who wanted to curse Israel!
- God refused Balaam's going with these men to curse Israel as the nation was already blessed by Him, 22:10-11, 12. Accordingly, Balaam refused this first request from Balak, Numbers 22:13-14.
- Balak sent messengers a second time, offering more of a financial reward than before, 22:15-17 NIV.
- Balaam claimed he could prophecy only what God wanted him to prophecy no matter how much reward Balak offered him, but he again housed Balak's messengers in apparent hope God might modify His Word so he could accept Balak's reward, 22:18-19, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to 22:9-20; 2 Peter 2:15.
- God graciously allowed Balaam to go with Balak's men, but to be careful to do only what God wanted him to do in the process, Numbers 22:20.
- Well, Balaam went, but recklessly hoped God would change His plans to bless Israel so he could make a haul in Balak's riches. God's anger thus mounted, and he confronted Balaam in the way, Num. 22:21-33:
- Balaam began his trip with Balak's messengers, but God's anger burned at him, Numbers 22:21. This was apparently due to His reading Balaam's motive as being a willingness for greed to pronounce a curse against Israel to her harm, cf. 2 Peter 2:15-16!
- God thus sent His angel, the Preincarnate Lord Jesus, to oppose Balaam's advance in his greedy, dangerous attitude regarding Israel, Numbers 22:22.
- When the donkey Balaam rode repeatedly saw the Angel block her way, she repeatedly tried to turn out of the way while Balaam repeatedly tried to get her back on the path by whipping her, 22:23-25.
- Finally, the donkey got cornered by the Angel in a narrow passage where she could not turn around, so, fearing the Angel of the Lord, she sat down amid Balaam's painful lashings with his staff, 22:26-27.
- God then opened the donkey's mouth to complain that she had never before refused to do Balaam's will, indicating that there was something unusual going on to explain her conduct, Numbers 22:28-30.
- God finally opened Balaam's eyes to see the Angel of the Lord blocking his way, an act the Angel explained was to stop Balaam even if it meant killing him to hinder his reckless intent, Num. 22:31-33.
- Balaam confessed his sin, and so expressed his willingness to return home again, Numbers 22:34.
- The Angel of the Lord however urged Balaam to continue, but reminded him to speak only the words He ordained Balaam speak [regardless what bribe he was given by Balak], Numbers 22:35.
Application: (1) Re: God's people, we can TRUST God sovereignly protects us from even the secret, destructive acts of influential men who are tempted out of greed to harm us against His will. (2) Re: leaders, (a) we must watch with WHOM we FELLOWSHIP lest we mingle with those who can tempt us via GREED to harm God's people (as Balaam did with Balak's men)! (b) We must FEAR God's lethal punishment for WILLFULLY doing things that can harm His people for a price! (c) When we face repeated, unusual blocks in our path, we must consider if GOD may be urging us to repent of our way!