Following God’s Directions

Scripture Reading:
Numbers 22:1-35 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

Balaam and Balak
22 Then the people of Israel went to the plains of Moab. They camped near the Jordan River across from Jericho.
2 Balak son of Zippor saw everything the Israelites had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was scared of so many Israelites. Truly, Moab was terrified by them.
4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This mob will take everything around us. It will be like an ox eating grass.”
Balak son of Zippor was the king of Moab at this time. 5 He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor. It was near the Euphrates River in the land of Amaw. Balak said, “A nation has come out of Egypt. They cover the land. They have camped next to me. 6 They are too powerful for me. So come and put a curse on them. Maybe then I can defeat them and make them leave the area. I know that if you bless someone, the blessings happen. And if you put a curse on someone, it happens.”
7 The elders of Moab and Midian went with payment in their hands. They found Balaam. Then they told him what Balak had said.
8 Balaam said to them, “Stay here for the night. I will tell you what the Lord tells me.” So the Moabite leaders stayed with him.
9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10 Balaam said to God, “The king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, sent them. He sent me this message: 11 ‘A nation has come out of Egypt. They cover the land. So come and put a curse on them. Then maybe I can fight them and force them out of my land.’”
12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. Don’t put a curse on those people. I have blessed them.”
13 The next morning Balaam awoke and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your own country. The Lord will not let me go with you.”
14 So the Moabite leaders went back to Balak. They said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 So Balak sent other leaders. He sent more leaders this time. And they were more important. 16 They went to Balaam and said, “Balak son of Zippor says this: Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to me. 17 I will pay you well. I will do what you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”
18 But Balaam answered Balak’s servants, “King Balak could give me his palace full of silver and gold. But I cannot disobey the Lord my God in anything, great or small.

Reflection: Balaam was presented with an opportunity to greatly benefit from doing something that God told him not to do. It can be hard to stick to your morals and do what is right when you are tempted with wealth, fame, and fortune. The story continues on after the provided passage with Balaam giving in and going. It becomes a mess of a story with an angel and a talking donkey.
Have you ever been tempted to do anything that you knew God would not want you to do? What were you tempted with? What did you decide to do? Did the situation end up messy?

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for stories that remind us that you want us to have strong morals and want us to stick with them. Amen.

Focus for the Day: Following God’s Directions

Author: Rachel Dudley, Director of Children’s Ministry