Summary: Why did God get angry with Balaam? All we are told is Balaam did what God told him but God still sends an angel to kill hiim. Why? And what lessons does God have for us in this story.

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APPLY: We’ve all the story of Balaam’s donkey ever since we were little children. But this is an unusual story for a number of reasons… not the least of which is a talking donkey. So, what I want to do this morning is introduce the major players in this drama and then see what applications God may have in mind for us.

So 1st let’s start with the Donkey.

I realized I didn’t really know that much about donkeys when I first read the text, so I did a little research on the internet.

One sermon I read on the net noted that in Bible times “Donkeys were all-purpose vehicles (like ATV’s) and they were used for transportation, carrying loads, grinding grain, and plowing fields.

(They were kind of like a pick-up for a farmer).

They were highly dependable.

Very gentle and extremely friendly to people.

In fact – the only major drawback to donkeys is their supposed “Mule headedness”

But most of the sources I read noted that “…the infamous donkey stubbornness keeps these animals and their riders out of danger/”

When a donkey senses danger – they simply “…tend to freeze”

They refuse to move.

So, the reaction Balaam’s donkey had to the angel of God was natural.

Next I did research on what the Bible says about donkeys… and I was surprised at what I discovered: I found for example that they were often part of major Bible stories.

• Abraham saddled his donkey to take Isaac to be sacrificed (Gen 22)

• Joseph’s brothers took donkeys with them to get food from Egypt (Gen 42)

• Moses saddled his donkey to go on his trip to Egypt to free Israel (Ex. 4:20)

• And, of course, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem a week before He was crucified in order to fulfill the prophecy that He would do so (Matthew 21:5; Zechariah 9:9)

And I found that Donkeys were very important animals in Scripture.

In fact, they were so important:

* that their 1st born male offspring were the only “unclean” animals that God’s law required to be redeemed by sacrifice of a lamb. Ex. 13:13

* The law required that a man’s Donkey was HAD to rest on Sabbath Day. (Exodus 23:12)

* If it was stolen, the thief was required to pay back twice the donkey’s value (Exodus. 22:4)

* Exodus 23:5 specifically commanded that “If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.”

* AND the donkey was one of only two animals mentioned in the 10 commandments

Exodus 20:17 said “You shall not covet your neighbor’s… ox OR donkey…”

So Donkeys were highly valuable to God’s People… and to God Himself.

So, that’s the Donkey.

Now let’s turn our attention to Midianites… and one of their kings. A man named Balak.

Balak was a troubled King. One day – he wakes up and finds a whole horde of Israelite people marching thru his land. That doesn’t make him happy He’s afraid they’ll eat up everything in sight and leave the land desolate.

So he considers fighting them, but he’s smart enough to know that he can’t fight these trespassers on his own so he sends messengers to a famous prophet who is said to be connected to God and he’s going to ask Balaam to come curse these Israelites so that he can have God’s help in defeating them.

This Balaam has a reputation that when he blesses someone they get blessed. When he cursed them they are cursed and stay cursed.

So, Balak sends an entourage to Balaam with a financial reward for his services… and he’s turned down cold. Balaam talked to God and God told him to stay home.

Balak thinks that maybe he wasn’t persuasive enough, so he sends a larger and more prominent group of men to bring a much larger and more tempting payment for Balaam.

At first Balaam turns them down, but he still enquires of God… and this time God gives him permission to make the journey to Balak… but only if he does and says exactly what God tells him to do and say.

When Balaam actually does arrive he ends up NOT ONLY not cursing the Israelites… - he actually blesses them 3 times - at God’s direction. And a frustrated Balak storms off… and apparently never attempted to fight Israel again (Judges 11:25)

So that brings us to the prophet Balaam.

Balaam was a prophet of God.

There were some preachers and scholars who believe that wasn’t true. There are many who believe that Balaam was just a greedy pagan prophet engaged in sorcery.

One preacher dismissed him by simply saying that:

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Hubert Herring

commented on Aug 3, 2011

Jeff..This is another great Sermon..I Pray that God will continue to Bless you

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