Numbers 23 has Balak continuing to try and use Balaam to curse the Israelites. His first attempt failed, so he is going to take another run at it, or three more runs as we will see in this chapter. Balaam has them build seven altars and prepare seven bulls and seven rams to sacrifice. Then Balaam goes to meet God telling Balak “whatever he shows me I will tell you”. Balaam is expecting God to show up and He does. And “the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak”. When is the last time you asked for a word from the Lord? Do you know that God gets great joy from being part of our lives? He always is, whether we acknowledge it or not, but He loves to be asked for direction and guidance. Balaam seeks that and God gives it clearly.
Balaam comes back and says “How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced”? This isn’t exactly what Balak wants to hear at all. “You have done nothing but bless them”. Balak is looking for a curse but Balaam is delivering a blessing. Not exactly the plan Balak has. But Balaam is clear: “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth”? Balaam is only going to speak what God tells him. So Balak decides to move to another place and take another shot at it. They build seven more altars and sacrifice seven more bulls and rams and Balaam goes off to seek God’s direction once again.
And “the Lord met Balaam and put a word in his mouth”. God shows up again when His servant comes to Him for a word. And Balaam receives it and comes back with this: “God is not man, that he should lie….that he should change his mind….I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it”. This is going from bad to worse for Balak. He is beside himself. He had this brilliant plan to buy off Balaam to curse the Israelites but it isn’t going his way. So Balaam once again says “All that the Lord says, that I must do”. He isn’t going to give Balak the answer he wants unless God gives it to him that way.
So Balak decides to make another attempt, this time moving up to the top of Peor which overlooked the desert. Maybe from a different vantage point. Not likely but who knows, God may change His mind. NOT. But they go and build seven more altars and sacrifice seven more bulls and rams. This is becoming a very expensive little project just to try and get Balaam to curse Moses and the folks below.