Title:  The Error of Balaam

Focus:  One of the most devastating enemies that Israel faced in the wilderness was not the Amelekites or the Amorites, Kingd Sihon or Og.  They fought against them and defeated them.  The most devastating enemy was Balak and his kingdom of Moab and Balaam because he used an indirect attack of luring them away from God, which caused the wrath of God to fall on them.

Function:  To motivate the hearers to be aware of subtle peer pressure and not let it draw them away from God.

Text:  Num 25:1-9



1.  Israel doomed to wander in wilderness

            a.  God not abandon them

            b.  They faced more enemies

            c.  Defeated Arad & Canaanites, Sihon & Amorites, Og & Bashan

2.  Now they camped on Plains of Moab

            a.  Another enemy lurking nearby - but they barely seem to be aware

            b.  It was King Balak of Moab

            c.  Realized he can’t defeat them


I.  Balaks plan to defeat Israel

            A.  To have Balaam (prophet for hire) curse them for a fee

            B.  Story of Donkey - Field, wall/foot, narrow place/sit down

                        1.  Donkey had more insight than Balaam

                        2.  Problem (v.32) - Way was reckless

                        3.  Just as Balaam can’t control donkey due to God, he can’t

                              control God with his divination and magic

            C.  3 times, Balaam blesses Israel

                        1.  Could not curse what is blessed

                        2.  3rd oracle declares Israel will devour adversaries (24:8)

                        3.  Added fourth oracle - Israel will be a great kingdom

            D.  It looks as though Balak couldn’t defeat Israel

                        1.  Not srong enough to attack

                        2.  Couldn’t have them cursed


II.  Next episode at was bad for Israel (Num 25:1-9)

            A.  This in spite of the four blessings of Balaam

            B.  Notice, Moab became “freinds” with Israel

                        1.  Introduced them to Baal of Peor

                        2.  Looks like a covenant (in the interest of peace)

                        3.  Covenants usually involved honoring the other nations gods

                        4.  Zimri took Midianite woman to his tent to “worship”

            C.  (Num 31:13-18)  Vengeance on Midian

                        - v.16 - Balaam was reponsible



III.  Not just interesting story, there is application for us

            A.  Balaam is used three times in the New Testament

                        1.  (2 Pet 2:14-15) - Enticing others to sin gone way of Balaam

                        2.  (Jude 10-13) - Error of Balaam - “Hidden reefs” - snagged, sink

            B.  (Rev. 2:14) - Balaam told Balak to try a more indirect approach

                        1.  Satan has many tactics

                        2.  He tries to intimidate (1st beast), if that not work

                        3.  He tries to lure you

                                    a.  Rev. 13:11-18 - Beast give mark to fit in (that’s nice)

                                    b.  Rev.  17 - The great harlot

            C.  This is talking about peer pressure

                        1.  It doesn’t look like “pressure” because it is so subtle

                        2.  World wants us to “get in line”

                                    a.  Wrong to say anyone else is wrong

                                    b.  Certain abominations are “lifestyles”

                                    c.  Wrong to be too committed to a religion

                                                ILL: Shawn thought “too much religion” in Searcy

                                    d.  Can’t say certain music is disgusting

                        3.  What was once moral is now considered immoral

                        4.  Christians are considered “misfits” by many

                                    - some call them hatemongers, homophobic, Jesus freaks

                                    - Bible thumpers, God boy, preacher boy, etc.

            D.  So the pressure is on to “fit in”

                        1.  Could keep to myself - Make my religion a secret

                        2.  Life goes so much smoother

                        3.  Yes, life may be much smoother but...



1.  ILL:  About 4 years ago, famous golf player died in chartered plane

            a.  Pilots lost consciousness after takeoff

            b.  Air Force Jets followed it, windows fogged over, depressurized

                        - Only thing going was autopilot

            c.  One of Air Force pilots said - Helpless feeling

                        - To pull along side another plane, realize people incapacitated

                        - Plane crashed when an engine lost fuel

            d.  Lack of oxygen & pressure make you oblivious to what is happening

                        - Make think everything is going just great

                        - But may be heading to end of your life

2.  May “get in line” and “get your mark” from the beast

            a.  May think all is going well

            b.  Headed straight for judgement

3.  We are not of this world - We are aliens, misfits - We are leaving

4.  Don’t take the mark, take the seal of God