Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Balaam and the Donkey – Numbers 22:22-40 – By: Bill Lamie

As we reach the mid-point of our summer Bible Study, we continue to see that God makes his direct will be known in the most unbelievable ways.

In the case of Balaam, he not only is commanded by God via a nocturnal dream, but is “preached” to by his donkey, and then confronted by the Angel of the Lord with sword drawn. I think that most of us, when confronted in the same ways, would have sworn never to violate God’s commands ever again. Sign me up for Team GOD!

Balaam, on the other hand (who was considered the most influential soothsayer of his day), is the classic example of a person who knew the right way, but choose to reject it to pursue worldly lusts. God “used” Balaam for the good of Israel, saving the nation from extermination, even though He knew that Balaam was evil. Peter wrote in his New Testament letter about the “character of false teachers”, and uses the account of Balaam as an example. So did Balaam just not understand the meaning of God’s grace? Were the temptations too much for him to follow God’s will? Didn’t God give him every opportunity to follow?

How often are we tempted, distracted and misdirected in our lives, stepping off the path that God intends for us to follow? Do we need for God to send us a shocking sign that He is calling us? I believe that God is always there to lead us back on the right path if we stray, but we have to follow His lead.

Our summer Bible study is a gift that I am very thankful for. It is a wonderful way to learn of God’s calling within our own Sunnyside Church learning community.


  1. Bill did a nice job of setting up this weeks sermon and Bible study. I was also glad to see Leslie chiming in from Pennsyvania. She proves you can participate from the road. Balaam and the Donkey is a tough story for me to grasp. I will need help on this one.

  2. This is a story that, I am sure, is very unfamiliar to most of us. I am really looking forward to the discussion this Sunday. No preconceived notions on this one!

  3. This is a new story for me to preach on as well. I am hoping that spending the week with 5,000 teenagers at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium will help to shock me in a new understanding of God's call myself as I work on my sermon for this week.

  4. After reading Numbers, I'm thinking that we just don't always know what is best for ourselves. I tend to kick and scream when things aren't going as they should. But I think this story tells us to follow a higher calling sometimes. Go where you are led and see the way of the Lord. We just don't always understand the best way for ourselves. God tries to give us direction.... Well, I may not really get it after all. Looking forward to Rebecca's take on this this morning!


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