Numbers 23

Numbers 23 has Balak trying to get his way with Balaam.  We already know that Balaam is on thin ice with God after God told him not to go to Balak.  But they build seven altars and sacrifice seven bulls and Balaam goes to God.  Guess what?  God tells him the same thing again.  In spite of Balak’s desire that he curse the Israelites, God says no.  “How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced”?  At least he is smart enough to not go against God’s direct direction.  “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth”?

Balak doesn’t like the answer so he pushes Balaam to try again. “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there”.  Maybe if Balaam can’t see as many of God’s people at once he’ll cave to Balak’s wishes.  So he goes off to meet with God after sacrificing another seven bulls and rams.  And God doesn’t change His direction at all.  God sends him to Balak to say no.

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it”?  God isn’t influenced by what we want.  And Balaam is at least smart enough to know that he better obey Him.  It gets worse for Balak.  Balaam says “I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it”.  Balaam is not going to give in to what Balak wants.

So Balak tells Balaam to give it one more try.  If at first you don’t succeed, and the next time God says no, well Balak is still going to have Balaam try again.  So they move to the top of Peor that overlooks the desert and Balak builds seven altars and offers a bull and ram on each yet again. Peor is where the temple of Baal was located.  Balaam has created the environment to go before God for a third time per Balak’s request and get direction.  Next chapter we’ll see what God says and how Balak reacts

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