Numbers 22-25

Spiritual Warfare

Chronological Bible Reading

 In Numbers 22 we read that the Israelites have camped in the plains of Moab, just across from the Promised Land.  For years they have been wandering in the desert and lately they have had some victories and are now anticipating where God would lead next.

 The king of Moab had heard that the Israelites recently had a great victory over the Amorites and now the Israelites are camped close by, so he and the elders of Midian are afraid that Israel would destroy them and the land. They take action by sending for Balaam. Balaam was known for having power to bless and to curse people.  Balak, the king of Moab, wanted Balaam to put a curse on Israel so he could drive Israel out.

 Balaam is a difficult character for us to figure out.  He is apparently a diviner who has knowledge of God and is even used by God but he is hardly a man of God.  Balaam is interested in making a profit but God wants to make him into a prophet so Balaam finds himself in a battle between God and his desires.  It takes a talking donkey to get through to him.

 The obvious question is why would God use Balaam as a prophet?  The answer is simple.  Balak would listen to what Balaam had to say.  After all he sent for Balaam.  Now Balak may not have liked what he heard, but God got His message across; Israel was blessed and would not be cursed. Four times Balaam blessed Israel instead of cursing them frustrating Balak who threatens to send Balaam packing. 

 While all of this is going on Israel remains camped out in the plains of Moab.  They have not heard Balaam utter these blessings.  They didn’t need to hear the blessings Balaam spoke to Balak.  Israel already had the blessings, the law, the tabernacle, and the promises of God. Israel may not even know Balaam has been hired to curse them. For all they know nothing is going on except that lately the Moabite women have become very friendly, and since they are just hanging out, this is becoming very appealing.

 Believers are to live by faith, focusing on God and not on this world, yet for some reason we get very interested in the latest developments or news.  Sadly, we sometimes are quick to act on what is changing without thinking that there might be spiritual consequences to our decisions to abandon course and go off on a new direction.  Balaam knew this is the nature of fallen mankind.  So, though he could not curse Israel, he knew what to do to cause them to fall into sin. Still profit driven, Balaam explained to Balak how to put the bait on the trap that would cause Israel to fall. Send in the girls, and that is exactly what he did.  The people took the bait and a plague resulted.  Some 38 years earlier God had Moses take a census of all the people 20 and older who had been delivered out of slavery in Egypt by God.  After this plague only Moses, Joshua, Caleb, and those who were 19 and younger at the first census, and those born in the years of desert wandering remained.  Withe the exception of Moses these are the people who will cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land.

 There are several spiritual battles in this account.  God versus Balaam.  God versus Balak by using Balaam.  Balaam and Balak versus Israel by ultimately using deceit and temptation.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  His promises and His words are true and unchanging.  Spiritual battles come in many forms but one common thread runs through all the battles we have looked at today.  The target is the weakness of the flesh. The longing and the lust of the flesh is the area where the spiritual battle will usually be waged.  God is fighting for us and wants to protect us and bless us, but if we are dependent on our own strength and give in to the longings of the flesh we will lose every time.  The battle is the Lord’s and we must live by faith trusting that God’s way is the best way. The longings of the flesh must be set aside by faith in God.

 “Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Hebrews 11:1 NASB


Here are a few other scriptures to consider.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

Ephesians 6:10-20


The victory is in Jesus.

Pastor Dave