October 30-November 3


God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” - Numbers 22:12 ESV

The final eruption of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980 was not a sudden event. For two months prior to the massive blast—the most deadly and destructive in American history—earthquakes and volcanic activity signaled a major event was underway. Authorities had plenty of time to sound the alarm and warn those living nearby of the looming danger. Yet despite the seriousness of the threat, some people chose to disregard the warnings. (Volcano Cowboys, Dick Thompson)

In Numbers 12:12, God gave Balaam a clear and subtle directive. But Balaam will end up looking for loopholes. Note God gives in essence a three-part answer to Balaam (1) do not go, (2) do not curse, (3) they are blessed. At first, Balaam sounds somewhat like the true prophet "Micaiah who said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I shall speak.” (1Ki 22:14) But Balaam's subsequent actions would prove his words here were disingenuous and that he was a "for-profit prophet."

How often have you been tempted to ignore God’s warnings? How often has God had to warn you more than once?

Thank God that He loves you enough to warn you of spiritual dangers ahead of time. Ask God to give you a heart that is sensitive and obedient to God’s subtle warnings.


Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” - Numbers 22:28 ESV

Edwin Cooper was famous across America, yet almost no one knew his real name. Coming from a family of circus clowns, Cooper began performing before audiences when he was just nine years old. After a stint with the Barnum and Bailey Circus, he became a fixture on television in the 1950s as Bozo the Clown. In addition to entertaining both young and old, Cooper had a message for his “buddies and partners” every week: get checked for cancer. Yet Cooper was so busy working that he neglected to follow his own advice. By the time his cancer was discovered, it was too late for it to be treated. Edwin Cooper died at just forty-one years of age from a disease he had warned many others to watch out for. (Reading Eagle)

Balaam had ignored God’s subtle warnings and so God sent a strong warning. In Numbers 22:28, the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey - Just as He did with His prophet Ezekiel (Ezek 3:27; Ezek 33:22). Three times the LORD had tried to get the message through to Balaam that going with Balak's messengers was a bad idea, so now He invokes a miracle to convey the message but still chooses to use the medium of a "dumb" donkey. Clearly, the one who was "dumb" was not the donkey but the rider! So here the donkey is seen as God's agent of rebuke.

What came to mind when Pastor Jim talked about the “strong warnings” God has to send in our lives sometimes? Is there a warning that God has escalated in your life?

Thank God for being longsuffering with you and for His repeated attempts to keep you from disobedience. Ask God to help you respond to any warnings He has already given you.


And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak. - Numbers 22:35 ESV

An F16 fighter jet is an amazing aircraft with incredible capabilities. But there is one thing that a jet pilot requires above all else. That the aircraft reacts completely to his control. If it were to have "a mind of its own" regardless of how remarkable that might sound, it would end up doing as much flying as a doorstop. In the same vein, even if we had all the gifting under the sun, God as the ultimate "pilot" of our lives, will only do amazing and remarkable things with our lives if we are fully under his control. If we insist upon taking our lives into our own hands at every opportunity we will find ourselves as effective as a proverbial doorstop, and a less gifted more humble man or woman will be used in our stead. Obedience is the golden key to a life of joy and excellence. (Pastor Mike Wagner)

God demonstrated this principle through the prophet Balaam. God told Him when to go and when to stay. Balaam’s effectiveness was only as impactful as his obedience. God will tell Balaam to go but will eventually tell him to stop once his motives are made clear.

When was the last time you sensed God telling you to go or stop? If you listen closely you will learn to recognize divine stops in your life.

Praise God for His beautiful plan for your life. Ask God to direct your steps and your stops today.


Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak.” - Numbers 22:38 ESV

In 2019, fourteen-year-old Cameron Cox initiated a fundraising effort for Habitat for Humanity. She called it “A Penny and a Prayer.” It combined fundraising and prayer. “She made the rounds to local establishments with two sets of mason jars—one to collect loose change, the other to collect prayers and good wishes for families partnering with Habitat.” The effort raised enough money to assist with the building of three houses in her hometown of Spring Hill, Tennessee, and the new homeowners received the prayers and blessings, including one from an eleven-year-old who said, “So happy for you and your new blessing. Hope your life will be smooth. Jesus loves you and so do I” (“A Penny and a Prayer”).

In Numbers 22, Balak wants Balaam to come and bless his people but also to curse God’s people. Balaam asks a rhetorical question to make it clear that what he blesses and what he curses is up to God. Balaam was only permitted to say what God told him to say. He was only allowed to bless what God told him to bless.

When was the last time you felt pressure to compromise your convictions and go with the crowd for fear of being ridiculed?

Thank God for some of the words of blessing that have been spoken to you. Ask God to give you the courage to say what He wants you to see in moments when you feel pressured to compromise or water down your convictions.


And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘All that the Lord says, that I must do?” - Numbers 23:25-26 ESV

 When Christian Herter was governor of Massachusetts, he was running hard for a second term in office. One day, after a busy morning chasing votes (and no lunch) he arrived at a church barbecue. It was late afternoon and Herter was famished. As Herter moved down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person in line. “Excuse me,” Governor Herter said, “do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?” “Sorry,” the woman told him. “I’m supposed to give one piece of chicken to each person.” “But I’m starved,” the governor said. “Sorry,” the woman said again. “Only one to a customer.” Governor Herter was a modest and unassuming man, but he decided that this time he would throw a little weight around. “Do you know who I am?” he said. “I am the governor of this state.” “Do you know who I am?” the woman said. “I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.” (Bits & Pieces)

The woman in charge of the chicken knew her job and in Numbers 23:26, Balaam knows his job is to do what God tells him to do. Balak was trying to tell Balaam what to do and it wasn’t working. He brought Balaam to curse God’s people, and when he tried to curse there was a blessing. And when he wanted him to bless his people there was a curse. Balak can only say it would be better not to bother.  

Most of us don’t like to be told what to do and we don’t like to be controlled. Why do we typically not like to be told what to do by others? What makes it different when God tells us what to do?

Praise God for the wisdom of His instructions and commands in your life. Ask God to help you trust and obey when He tells you what to do.