Micah 6:5




Balaam was a living contradiction.

He knew a lot of Scripture.



But he set aside most of what he knew.

He worshipped God.



But he also worshipped other gods.

He was a prophet of God.



But he was also a fortune teller.

He was devoted to God.



But he was more devoted to money.

A man like that is dangerous.



He’s like Satan who comes as an angel of light.

He speaks of God.



But he can be bought for a price.

He’s like Judas Iscariot who followed Jesus for three years.



And betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver.

The danger is so great, God has given us more Scriptures about Balaam than          

any of the Apostles;


More about Balaam than Peter, or John;

More about Balaam than Mary the Mother of Jesus.



PETER warned us about the WAY of Balaam (covetousness).

JOHN warned us about the DOCTRINE of Balaam (idolatry and fornication).



JUDE warned us about the ERROR of Balaam (greed).

And MICAH said REMEMBER what Balaam did.



The story is found in Numbers 22-25.

Moses was leading the Hebrews to the Promised Land.



They arrived at the plains of Moab.

They camped out.



Their presence and strength worried the Moabite king.

His name was Balak.



He was afraid the Hebrews would attack his people.

He wanted help.



He heard about a famous prophet named Balaam who lived in Babylon.

He thought, “I will hire Balaam to use his power with God.”



“I will get him to curse the Hebrews.”

It would be like hiring a preacher to influence God to curse your enemies.



You pay the preacher.

He prays.



And God makes your enemies suffer.

So the king sent for Balaam.



"And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards

of divination in their hand" (Num 22:7).

They took money;



Money to hire this divinator (this witch) to curse Israel.

This tells us something about the reputation of Balaam.



He was famous;

So famous a king in a foreign land tried to hire him to WIN A WAR.



That’s quite a reputation.

Anyway, the king’s messengers arrived with the money.



They told Balaam what they wanted.

Balaam replied, “Lodge here this night and I will bring you word again as the

Lord shall speak to me” (Num. 22:8).



Balaam wanted to pray before he took the money.

I told you he had faith in God.



Someone said, the purpose of prayer is not to ask God to give us what we   


The purpose of prayer is to ask God what He wants from us.



So, Balaam prayed.

And God said, “Thou shalt not go with them;”


“Thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed.”

Balaam understood that.



Studdert Kennedy said, “Prayer is not an easy way to get what we want.”

“It’s the only way to become what God wants.”



Balaam “rose up in the morning and said unto the princes of Balak get you    

unto your land;”

“For the Lord refuses to give me leave to go with you.”



So far so good.

Balaam listened to what the king wanted.



He prayed.

God said, “Don’t go.”



He didn’t go.

He sent the messengers away.



They went home and told the king what happened.

But he wouldn’t accept “no” for an answer.



He sent his messengers back with a better offer, “Let nothing I pray thee       

hinder you from coming unto me.”

“For I will promote thee unto very great honor;”



“And I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me.”

He said, “Don't let anything stand in the way of this deal.”




“Come and help me.”

“And I will give you a high position in my kingdom.”



That’s a pretty good offer.

But remember that God said, “Don’t go.”



Balaam answered, “If Balak would give me this house full of silver and gold,

I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.”




He said, “I can’t go beyond the word of God for any price.”

“I can’t do less than what God said.”



“And I can’t do more than what God said.”

That sums it up pretty good.



We can only do what God lets us do.

If we do the will of God, we will succeed.



If we go against the will of God, we will fail.

Now, if Balaam had stopped right there, everything would’ve been okay.



But he didn’t.

He spoke again.



“Tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord might say unto

me more.”

He said, “stick around.”




“Let me pray again.”

“Let me see if God will change His mind.”



The king’s offer of money and power was talking.

So Balaam prayed a second time.



And God answered him a second time, “Rise up and go with them;”

“BUT---the word that I say unto thee---THAT shalt thou do.”



God said, “You can go.”

“But I am going to require you to say what I tell you to say.”



Balaam was anxious to get that money and power.

He got up early the next morning.



He rushed off to Moab.

But the Scriptures say God was angry with Balaam.



God even sent an angel to remind Balaam a second time that God would       

require him to say only what God told Him to say.

Someone might ask, “If God was going to get angry with Balaam, why did   

He let Balaam go?”



I don’t know.

I just know that God doesn’t want us to sin.



But He lets us sin.

He gives us choices.




And the greatest choice any of us can make is to do what God wants us to do.

He told Balaam not to go.



The issue should’ve been settled.

But Balaam asked a second time.



Someone said, “Be careful what you ask for.”

“God may let you have it.”



So God let him go.

The king was anxious for Balaam to arrive.



He was watching for Balaam.

He saw him coming.



He went out to meet him.

He took Balaam up on a high mountain.



They looked down over the Hebrew camp in a valley.

Balaam said, “build seven altars.”



The king’s people did it.

Balaam sacrificed a bullock and a ram on each altar.



Then, he prayed.

I remind you that he was told to say only what God told him to say.



And God said, “You cannot curse Israel.”

“I won’t permit it.”


It’s not that the Hebrews were so good.

They weren’t.



They angered God in many ways.

But God always dealt with their sin.



And He wouldn’t let Balaam put a curse on them.

It’s not that the Jews are so good today.



They’re not.

God says, “You mind your own business.”



“I’ll handle them.”

So Balaam told the king God wouldn’t let him put a curse on Israel.



And the king was angry.

Balaam asked, “Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put   

into my mouth?”



Shouldn’t I be careful to speak the Word of God;

Nothing more and nothing less?



He should’ve remembered this.

He would talk too much later on.



He didn’t get in trouble when he said what God told him to say.

But he got in a lot of trouble when he said what God didn’t want him to say.



Our tongue is hard to control.

But we need to learn to control what we say.

Anyway, the king took Balaam to a second spot on the mountain overlooking         

the Hebrew camp.

Balaam sacrificed more animals.



He prayed a second time.

And he got a second message “God does not lie.”



“God does not change His mind like men do.”

God won’t go back on His Word.



God will do everything He says He will do.

He promised to bless the Hebrews.



And that promise couldn’t be revoked.

So Balaam told this to the king.



But the king still wasn’t satisfied.

He took Balaam to a third spot on the mountain overlooking the Hebrew       




This time the Spirit of God came upon Balaam.

He pronounced a blessing on the Hebrews.



And a curse upon anyone that curses them.

The king flew into a rage.



He clapped his hands.

He said, “I called thee to curse mine enemies and behold, thou hast altogether         

blessed them three times.”



“Get out.”

“You won’t get the money and power I promised to you.”



Balaam replied, “I'll go.”

“But first let me tell you what’s going to happen to your people.”



Then, Balaam prophesied a fourth time.

“The Hebrews will destroy Moab.”



Then, this strange prophet said something we often hear at Christmas.

“There shall come a Star out of Jacob.”



“And a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.”

This WITCH prophesied the First and Second Coming of Jesus.



Jesus called Himself the Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16).

He is that Scepter;



A King who will rule over people.

The prophet Zechariah said, “The Lord shall be king over all the earth”         

(Zech. 14:9).



Was Jesus king over all the earth at His first coming?




But He’s coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).

“He will rise out of Jacob” means this coming King will be a Jew.



Some scholars say this prophecy is why the wise men went to Jerusalem       

when Jesus was born.

They saw a star (perhaps all the way over there in Babylon).



They thought that star signaled the Messiah’s arrival.

Daniel was in Babylon when he prophesied when the Messiah would appear  

the first time.



The wise men knew the time was close.

They went to Jerusalem.



They asked, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2)?

“For we have seen His star in the East (perhaps Babylon, the home of Balaam        

and Daniel) and have come to worship Him.”



After Balaam prophesied the destruction of Moab and the two comings of    


He went home.



We may think he didn’t do much wrong.

But he committed a grievous sin before he left.



Don’t forget that he was not to say more or less than what God told him to   


God even sent an angel to remind him of this.



We learn from Rev. 2:14 that Balaam taught the king how to corrupt the         


He said cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel:

          1. to eat things sacrificed to idols, and

          2. to commit fornication.


Somewhere, somehow Balaam took the king aside.

He said God won’t let me curse the Hebrews.



But I can tell you how to get them in trouble.

Let your Moabite women enter the Hebrew camp and sleep with their men.



Let your women tempt their men to eat food that’s been sacrificed to idols.

Do you see what Balaam did?



In accordance with God's instruction, he refused to curse the Hebrews.

But for money and power he taught the king to get the Hebrews to sin.



Sin separates people from God.

Sin causes people to lose God's blessings.



Woe to the one who says, “I’ll do what I want to do.”

That person is shaking his fist in the face of God.



Did Balaam’s plan work?

“And Israel abode in Shittim and the people began to commit whoredom with        

the daughters of Moab.”



“And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods;”

“And the people did eat and did bow down to their gods.”



“And Israel joined themselves unto Baalpeor:”

“And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.”





“And the Lord said unto Moses,”

“Take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord against  

the sun,”



“That the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from the people.”

“And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, slay ye every one his men that     

were joined unto Baalpeor” (Num. 25:1-5).



“And those that died were twenty and four thousand” (Num. 25:9).

Our unchanging God is in favor of capital punishment.



Twenty-four thousand people died because Balaam got them to sin.

What happened to Balaam?



He went home.

And the Hebrews slew him with a sword (Num. 31:8).



Benjamin Franklin said, “You may never get over the slip of your tongue.”

Balaam opened his mouth against the will of God and lost his life.



I want to close with seven things to remember about the story of Balaam.

1st---Don't try to make a profit off of your relationship with God.



You may make God angry.

2nd---Don’t assume ill-gotten gains will make you happy.



Balaam lost his life striving for ill-gotten gains.

3rd---Don’t think all religious leaders are honest.




Balaam was close enough to God to receive prophecies about Jesus;

Close enough for the Spirit of God to come upon him.



But for money and power he was willing to teach others to sin.

The Bible says Jesus was wounded in the house of His friends.



That was true 2000 years ago.

And it’s still true today.



Some religious people are corrupt.

They have “a form of godliness” (II Tim. 3:5).



4th---Don’t try to justify fornication.

Balaam taught the king to involve some of God’s people in fornication.



Today, some call it “broad-mindedness, enlightenment, inclusiveness,

tolerance,” etc.

I will simply remind you that God had twenty-four thousand people executed         

for it in the days of Moses.



5th---Don’t think God won’t be faithful.

He pronounced a blessing on the Hebrews.



And absolutely refused to allow Balaam to curse them.

As long as the people remained faithful, God protected them.



It wasn’t until some committed fornication and worshipped other gods that   

He permitted them to be harmed.

6th---Don’t forget about that Star out of Jacob.



He is coming back to rule the world.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall         

be upon his shoulder” (Isa. 9:6).



And 7th---During one of his prophecies, Balaam asked God to, “Let me die   

the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his.”

He expressed the desire to die the death of a righteous man.



All of us should want to die in a right relationship with God.

But WANTING to die in a right relationship with God is one thing.



And ACTUALLY dying in a right relationship with God is something else.

We have to get in a right relationship with God before we can die in a right    

relationship with God.



And we cannot get in a right relationship with God until we have a Saviour.

The Star out of Jacob is that Saviour.



Have you accepted Him?

Will anyone accept Him today?