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February 25, 2024 Sermon Notes and Questions

Who? Lesser-Known People of the Bible

Wk2 Balaam’s Folly

Numbers 22-25

February 25, 2024

Darin Elquist


Message Notes


            Son of Beor

Born in Pethor in Mesopotamia

“Balaam” means “Pilgrim” or :Lord of the People.”

He is referred to 61 times

He is mentioned in 5 Old Testament Books, and 3 New Testament Books (only two mention the donkey)

Profession- Prophet, soothsayer, diviner, scoundrel

Time Period- Near the end of the Exodus

Death- Executed by the Jews in Numbers 31 at 33yrs old

Revelation 2:14
But I have a few things against you, because you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.

Balaam’s Folly-


Numbers 22:6

6 Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

Balaam seeks God, and gets his answer in verse 12.

Numbers 22:12
But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

Round Two-

Numbers 22:18
18 But Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “Even if Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God.

Numbers 22:20

And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise and go with them; but you shall do only the thing that I tell you.”

God’s Permissive Will-

            God allows us to do something so we can learn from out mistake/mistakes.

A Donkey, A staff and An Angel- (Numbers 22:22-35)

Numbers 22:22
But God was angry that he was going, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the road as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

Numbers 22:27

When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his staff.

Numbers 22:28

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 22:32

Then the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was reckless and contrary to me.

Numbers 22:35
But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went along with the representatives of Balak.

Balaam Arrives- (Numbers 22:36-41; 23 & 24)

Balaam has 7 alters built and sacrifices 7 bulls and 7 rams (Num 23:1)

Numbers 23:8
How am I to put a curse on him upon whom God has not put a curse?
And how am I to curse him whom the LORD has not cursed?

Numbers 23:11-13
Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to put a curse on my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!” He replied, “Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”
Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from where you may see them, although you will only see the extreme end of them and will not see all of them; and put a curse on them for me from there.”

This happens 2 more times in two different places.

Instead of cursing the Jews, Balaam blesses them… three times!

Balak is mad, Balaam doesn’t get paid. What’s going on here? The story isn’t over just yet.

Balaam’s Messianic Prophecy

Numbers 24:17-19
I see him, but not now;
I look at him, but not near;
A star shall appear from Jacob,
A scepter shall rise from Israel,
And shall smash the forehead of Moab,
And overcome all the sons of Sheth.
And Edom shall be a possession,
Seir, its enemies, also will be a possession,
While Israel performs valiantly.
One from Jacob shall rule,
And will eliminate the survivors from the city.”

Balaam Goes Home-

Numbers 25:1-3
While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to commit infidelity with the daughters of Moab. 2 For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel became followers of Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry with Israel.

God Judges Moab and Midian & Balaam Dies

Numbers 31:7-8
7 So they made war against Midian, just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed every male. 8 They killed the kings of Midian along with the rest of those killed: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.

Numbers 31:16
16 Behold, they caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to be unfaithful to the LORD in the matter of Peor, so that the plague took place among the congregation of the LORD!

Things we Can Learn from Balaam’s Story-

  1. You can hide your true intentions from people, but not from God.
  2. God gives many chances for redemption. He gave Balaam an out early in the story in 22:12; then in 22:35; and then in 24:25 he is sent home. We don’t know if he went home and came back, or just met again with Balak right away. We don’t know when he told Balak about how to defeat the Jews. At least three times Balaam had a chance to do the right thing. But he does not.
  3. We see God continues to keep His promise to Israel about being blessed and safe.
  4. There is a difference between following the letter of the law and following the spirit of the law.


Maybe you don’t lie, steal, cheat and kill. But do you love God and love people?

You love God by doing what He says.

You love people by doing what God says, Love them the way Jesus does.

Balaam’s folly was one of simple human arrogance. He thought that if he did exactly what God told him to do, (following His instructions to the letter) that he could get away with doing things that God didn’t tell him he couldn’t do. (Telling Balak to send in the Moabite women) Sure, he never did place a curse on Israel, but he did put them in harm’s way.


  1. Read Numbers 22:1-8

    1. Who are the people from Moab in the Bible?

    2. Why would they be afraid of the “sons of Israel”?

    3. Where would they be located on a map?

    4. Where is the Euphrates river located?

    5. Do you think Balaam did the right thing in verse 8?

  2. What are some of the requirements of being a “Christian”?

    1. What are some of the things that cults do to change or add to the requirements?

  3. Is the Bible the only Word of God? How could you prove it?

  4. Read Numbers 22:9-12

    1. Does God’s instruction seem clear here?

    2. Are there times in our lives when God’s instructions are very clear?

    3. Are there times when it is unclear what God wants us to do?

    4. Can you give life examples of each?

  5. Read Numbers 22:13-20

    1. Is it ok to ask God for something more than once? Why or why not?

    2. Does God change His mind in verse 20? Why or why not?

  6. Read Numbers 22:21-30

    1. Why would God be angry in verse 22?

    2. Does God get involved directly in our lives like he did with Balaam and his donkey? What are some of the ways God intervenes in our lives?

  7. From reading the scriptures (reference Numbers 22-24) on Balaam and from the sermon what did Balaam do that was wrong in God’s eyes?

  8. Read Numbers 24:17-19

    1. What is meant by a “start shall appear from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel” mean?

    2. Do you think the people who lived in the Old Testament times understood these prophesy’s?

  9. Read Numbers 31:16

    1. What are some ways we can use the Bible to comment on other scriptures in the Bible?

  10. Pray this week that God would show you your own heart and that if there is anything that God show’s you is against His will, ask for forgiveness and God’s help to repent from that sin.