Summary: At first glance the book of Numbers reads a bit like an operations manual. It’s got numbers of soldiers, lists of names, and a bit of repetition. Tucked between those lists and numbers are some stories of real people, dealing with real issues of faith!
WHEN GOD SAYS “NO”
***This message tagteam preached with Jesse (layperson in our church)
-Does anyone remember Y2K? For those that were too young let me explain.
-When computers were first being made they were programmed to assume that the year always started with 19.
-They weren’t thinking ahead to the 2000s.
-So as the new millenium drew closer some experts predicted that when the date changed from Dec 31, 1999 to Jan 1, 2000 that the computers wouldn’t know what to do and would simply shut down.
-Of course this led to the speculation that worldwide shipping, government, and everything else would be thrown into utter chaos.
-Some predicted power loss, food shortages, looting, and rioting in the streets.
-I knew some guys that were storing barrels and barrels of drinking water.
-For a few months they skipped church while they were stockpiling flour, rice, beans, and ammunition up in the hills.
-I was a bit skeptical, but I didn’t want to be caught unprepared. So I bought, 2 gallons of water, a bag of rice and a box of ammo.
-You can never be too prepared! Well then, we all waited.
-When Jan 1, 2000 arrived nothing happened. Nothing.
-All of the things we were sure would happen...didn’t happen.
-And some of those preppers are still eating rice and beans.
-Sometimes...things don’t go the way we plan them to go.
-No matter how hard we try or how much we plan…
-No matter what we think or what we speculate….
-No matter how smart or prepared we are….
Now matter how hard we might work for something...
-Sometimes things don’t go the way we expected..
-Disappointments, setbacks, unexpected obstacles...that’s part of life!
-But here’s the surprising truth about all that: sometimes the reason things don’t go our way...is because God simply said “no.”
-That’s always easy to accept.
-We believe that God loves us. We believe he is working on our behalf.
-But we struggle to believe that what he wants is best, because we think we know what’s best for us.
-So why doesn’t God give us what we want? Why doesn’t he say “yes” to everything we ask for?
-That’s what we’ll discuss today in Numbers 23 & 24. There are 3 chapters in Numbers that tell tell this story from the Moabite perspective.
-If you’ve missed the last two weeks you can catch the previous messages on Balaam and Balak on the website...but a lot has transpired leading up to this point in our story.
-King Balak was trying to hire Balaam to curse Israel but God told him not to.
-Our story today begins when Balaam arrives to hear the kings proposal.
-And we’re going to see what happens to King Balak, when God says, “No.”
NUMBERS 23:1-12 (Jesse)
23:1 Then Balaam said to King Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” 2 Balak followed his instructions, and the two of them sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar.
-At this time King Balak felt like he was at the end of his rope.
-He was surrounded, outnumbered and scared.
-He thought his kingdom was about to fall, he felt hopeless.
-King Balak was ready to do anything to find a way out.
-Balaam suggested he make sacrifices
-These sacrifices were his way of trying to seal a victory in the face of overwhelming odds.
-The offerings were meant to gain favor from god to save his kingdom.
-This was a normal type of offering that even the Israelites gave.
-Balak was used to dealing with pagan gods who needed to be appeased…(bought off)
-In their way of thinking, giving the right offering to your god would POSSIBLY help you with your issues.
-But Balak wasn’t used to dealing with the one true God...
-Our GOD cannot be bribed, our GOD cannot and will not fail us even though the outcome may not always be what we want it to be.
-But you can be sure that the outcome is always ultimately what HE WANTS IT TO BE.
-I think Balak knew this, I think he knew he was outmatched not just physically but spiritually and that is what brought him to his outsourced sorcerer.
3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offerings, and I will go to see if the Lord will respond to me. Then I will tell you whatever he reveals to me.” So Balaam went alone to the top of a bare hill, 4 and God met him there. Balaam said to him, “I have prepared seven altars and have sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar.” 5 The Lord gave Balaam a message for King Balak. Then he said, “Go back to Balak and give him my message.”