Daily Devotional Wednesday 16th September 2020

by William Moody

Numbers 22:39–23:12

39 Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.

41 And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.

Balaam’s First Oracle

23:1 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

  “From Aram Balak has brought me,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
  ‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
    and come, denounce Israel!’
  How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?
  For from the top of the crags I see him,
    from the hills I behold him;
  behold, a people dwelling alone,
    and not counting itself among the nations!
10   Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number the fourth part1 of Israel?
  Let me die the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!”

11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”


[1] 23:10 Or dust clouds


Balaam seems to be a great contradiction. On the one hand he speaks with the Lord the true God and on the other he engages in the pagan worship of Balak and the Moabites (v39-41 & 1-3).

We need to examine our own lives for contradictions. We cannot walk in the ways of the Lord and in the ways of the world (1 John 2 v15-17).

God gives Balaam His message (v5). He puts the very words in Balaam’s mouth. Here we see the task of any preacher or teacher in the church. It is to wait upon God, in order for God to put His word into our mouths.

Balak wants the Israelites cursed, but under God, Balaam can only bless (v7-10). The closing words (v10b), speak of Balaam’s envy of the righteous who belong to God. As believers we need to seek for the unsaved to see that we have something in Christ that they will long for.

Balak is not happy (v11-12) as God has turned around his plan to curse God’s people into one that brings blessing. With God in control what have God’s children ever to fear?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.