The Story Of Balaam

The story of Balaam began when Balak, the king of the Moabites sent a message to him. The king feared the Israelites because in his words they were “a vast horde of people”.

Balak’s messengers, who were elders of Moab and Midian, set out with money to pay Balaam to place a curse upon Israel. They went to Balaam and delivered Balak’s message to him. Numbers 22:7

The king had also seen everything the Israelites did to the Amorites. Thus the people of Moab were terrified. Balak made the following request of Balaam in a message he sent him.

Please come and curse these people for me because they are too powerful for me. Then perhaps I will be able to conquer them and drive them from the land. Numbers 22:6

An interesting part of this story is the reputation of Balaam. Thus Balak referred to it at the end of the letter he wrote.

I know that blessings fall on any people you bless, and curses fall on people you curse.” Numbers 22:6

As the Story of Balaam Continued

The story continued when Balaam received Balak’s message he expected to hear from God concerning this request.

“Stay here overnight,” Balaam said. “In the morning I will tell you whatever the Lord directs me to say.” Numbers 22:8

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God did speak to him and told him not to go with them. He said, “You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed!” Balak did not like that answer.

So he sent a larger number of even more distinguished officials. His letter this time contained a strong message of desperation.

Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to help me. I will pay you very well and do whatever you tell me. Just come and curse these people for me!” Numbers 22:16-17

Obvious Deception in the Story of Balaam

Dollar signs must have flashed before Balaam at this part of the story. He decided the best thing for him to do was to delay these messengers until the next day.

But Balaam responded to Balak’s messengers, “Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord my God. Numbers 22:18

His first sign of deception came when he said, “The Lord my God.” The Lord wasn’t his God! Up to this point in the story, God spoke to Balaam two times.

But we don’t see anywhere where Balaam actually sought God out. The Lord did speak to him again. This time He told him to go along with these men.

The next day he saddled his donkey and started with the Moabite officials. The very next verse though sounds like God changed his mind. But keep in mind, God knew Balaam’s heart.

But God was angry that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way. Numbers 22:22

Other Bible Verses about Balaam

When checking out other Bible verses about Balaam, we find evidence that he was a man of deception.

  • Balaam son of Beor, loved to earn money by doing wrong. 2 Peter 2:15
  • What sorrow awaits them! . . . Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. Jude 1:11
  • You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam. Revelation 2:14
The Story of Balam

An Angel Stands in Balaam’s Way

To stop Balaam, God sent an angel to block him from continuing his journey. He stood in the road with a drawn sword in his hand.

Balaam, however, never saw the angel standing there, but his donkey did. This four-legged beast made three attempts to avoid this heavenly being.

  • The donkey bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat it and turned it back onto the road.  Numbers 22:23
  • It tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So Balaam beat the donkey again. Numbers 22:25
  • The third time when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down under Balaam. In a fit of rage Balaam beat the animal again with his staff. Numbers 22:27

Then this story took a little twist because the donkey spoke to Balaam. The Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. He also opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel with his sword.

As the story wound down, Balaam ended up blessing the Israelites three times. You may want to read the entire story of Balaam starting in Numbers 22.

What is the Application to this Story

It’s a fascinating story but let’s see how it applies to us. First of all, God will use anyone or anything He desires. And it’s not our job to question His choices.

Who would ever think to use a donkey to fulfill God’s will? God would! How many Christians would enable a “deceptive sinner” to bless God’s people?  Again, God would.

Another thing we can learn is, no one can curse God or His people and get away with it. It doesn’t matter if they think they have gotten away with it, they haven’t. 

God loves you and He loves me. The devil and his cohorts can make our lives miserable at times, but in the Lord, we are always victorious.

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4

Lord, thank you for protecting us from the enemy just like you protected the Israelites. Also thank you for those who hand out your blessings upon us.

Check out some of the other “Old Testament stories” I have written about.



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