Numbers 21:32



The Bible says in Numbers 21:32, “And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there.[33] And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.[34] And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.[35] So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.” When the king of Bashan came against Israel to battle, God said to Moses in verse thirty-four, “Fear him not.” Every Christian is told the same thing: do not fear. God loves you, Jesus is all-powerful, and nothing will happen except for God’s will. No matter who attacks you, God can give you the victory if God so chooses. And that is exactly what God chose to do in this case. Even before they fought, God said, “I have delivered him into thy hand.” Once God decides something, it is going to happen exactly the way that God says and that God determines. Also, this was the Old Testament. It was very violent. It was kill or be killed. That is what was required to establish a new nation among these heathen peoples. It says in verse thirty-five, “So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive.” Of course, we do not do things this way now because Jesus replaced the Old Testament law with His grace. It says in John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ


The Bible says in Numbers 22:1-14, “And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.[2] And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.[3] And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.[4] And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.[5] He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:[6] Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.[7] And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.[8] And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.[9] And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee?[10] And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying,[11] Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out.[12] And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.[13] And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.[14] And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us.” The story of Balaam should have stopped here. This should have been the end of the whole affair. But there was already something terribly wrong. Notice that God said to Balaam in verse nine, “What men are these with thee?” Balaam was supposed to be someone who knew God. Therefore, Balaam should not have been spending time with these heathen people who worshipped false gods. Balaam got too close to their false worship. The reason that Balaam asked over and over if he could go with these people is because that is exactly what Balaam was determined to do. Notice in verse twelve the first time that Balaam asked God if he could go with them, God said, “Thou shalt not go with them…” God will let you know what He wants you to do, but if you are determined to go your own way, the Lord will allow you to do so. God has given to mankind free will. We also know the main reason that Balaam went with these heathen people: Balaam wanted the money. We know this is the correct understanding because we are told in Jude 1:11, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core


The Bible says in Numbers 22:15-21, “And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.[16] And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me:[17] For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.[18] And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.[19] Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.[20] And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.[21] And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.” In verse seventeen Balak once again tempts Balaam. Temptation is like that: you might beat it one day, but it will come right back at you. That is one of the reasons that we are all sinners. It is hard to be one hundred percent consistent in the face of constant pressure and temptation. That is why Jesus told us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation…” Since we are so weak, the best way to avoid temptation is to avoid the place of temptation. Do not go where you know you will be tempted.


Balak asked Balaam to do two things: “come” and “curse.” And already told Balaam to not do either one of them. But Balaam goes back to God and asks God once again. As we already said, Balaam wanted the money and the honor that Balak would give him. Balaam was determined to go with Balak, and so God let Balaam go. God gives us free will. God will show us His perfect will for us, but God will not force us to go His way. God will give us permission to go our own way, but we will regret it if we do. It is difficult because of our own strong wills, but if we could only surrender to God’s will and humble ourselves, we will be so much better off. 


The Bible says in Numbers 22:22-35, “And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.[23] And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.[24] But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.[25] And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.[26] And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.[27] And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.[28] And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?[29] And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.[30] And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.[31] Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.[32] And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:[33] And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.[34] And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.[35] And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.” This is one of those passages of scripture that shows that God has a sense of humor. These verses also show a lesson about the sinfulness of man. The animals obey God always, but man does not. But God is patient and merciful with us. Even when we make mistakes, God will go with us and use the new situation that we are in to teach us even what we should have already known.


Balaam was not in a right relationship with God. Balaam was acting according to the flesh, and not according to the spirit. Are you motivated by the flesh or by the Spirit? Your behavior will let you know. When the works of the flesh manifest themselves instead of the fruits of the Spirit, you will know. The difference between the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit are described very clearly for us in Galatians 5:17-25. Notice verse 25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” We “live” in the Spirit if we know Jesus as Savior because when we believe on Jesus and receive Him into our heart, the Holy Spirit also comes into us. At that point we have spiritual life and we will never lose it. But each day as we “walk” in this world, there are certain Biblical and spiritual principles that must be a part of our lives if we are to “walk in the Spirit” and thus have the “fruits of the Spirit.” Our sins must be confessed daily, we must have an attitude of surrender to the Lord’s will, we must be trusting in the Lord Jesus each moment and praying, and we must be thinking about the truths and commandments of God’s Word. Every moment that we are doing the things described in the previous sentence, we will be walking in the Spirit. Every moment that we do not, we will manifest the works of the flesh. That is why the Christian life is a call to total commitment, and that is why we sin so easily and so often.


Balaam did not have an attitude of surrender to the Lord’s will. Balaam was determined to go his own way no matter what God said. And so Balaam is already walking according to the flesh. It is not surprising that Balaam then manifests other works of the flesh as he goes his way. He is impatient, and he strikes his donkey. Now Balaam has more evidence (that God provided for him) to wake up to his true spiritual state. Balaam is someone who knows God. Balaam is a prophet. But right now Balaam is walking in the flesh instead of in the Spirit. Balaam should have confessed his sins of rebellion, selfishness, impatience, and anger, and made a new commitment to do whatever the Lord wanted him to do. Christians need to do the same thing: sometimes multiple times a day. It says in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” But once you are aware of the works of the flesh in your life, do the following. First, remember First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Also, remember Jesus’ example when He prayed, “Not my will but thine, be done,” and make sure that at this moment you are surrendered to God’s will not your own will. Then think of a Bible verse that reminds you to put your faith in the Lord such as Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” You will once again start manifesting the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. But since you are still in a human body on this earth, you will daily be challenged by this battle of the flesh against the Spirit. But never give up. Jesus loves you and He will always be merciful to you and let you start again to “walk in the Spirit



Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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