Dave Burnette's Commentary

Numbers Chapter 23

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Unbelief (c 1-27)
Theme: A Second Approach to the Promised Land (c 22-36)
Message: Balaam's Blessings  (v 1-30)

Numbers 23 Commentary

(23:1-4) Balaam Makes an Offering - Instead of offering a sacrifice to the local gods, whom Balak would normally worship, Balaam instructed Balak to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, the God of Israel. Balak--and perhaps even Balaam- was trying to appease the Lord with an offering to get what he wanted in return: a curse against God's people. We do something similar when we attempt to give something to God (an extra offering, a service project, more time spent in devotions) to try to get what we want from him. God cannot be bought with our offerings, good works, or sacrificial actions. God cannot be manipulated into doing anything for us against his will

(23:1-3) The Number 7 - The number seven was sacred among many of the nations and religions at this time.

(23;27) Balak Failes to Curse God - Balak took Balaam to several places to try to entice him to curse the Israelites. He thought a change of scenery might help change Balaam's mind. But changing locations won't change God's will, and Balaam seemed aware of this. Behind Balak's request was probably the pagan assumption that gods were thought to have only regional control; therefore, Balaam would no longer have to obey God if he was out of God's jurisdiction. But Balk's problem had nothing to do with his location. He apparently did not understand that God's sovereignty has no limits. Balak's problem would stay with him regardless of where he took Balaam. We must learn to face the true source of our problems. Moving to escape problems often only makes solving them more difficult. Problems rooted in us or in the focus of our faith are not solved by a change of scenery. A change in location or job may only distract us from the need to have a change of heart.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Power Over All

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 23 and in today's text we see  the account of Balaam's life as God uses this sorcerer to accomplish His Will. Does this mean that God approves of unrighteousness? No, just the opposite, it shows that God is Holy and that He has the power to use the just and unjust to accomplish His Will. In making application we see that God has all power. Yes, Power over everything. Some think that the devil or man made gods make up the spiritual realm but the truth is there is but one God. He is Holy, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, All Powerful, He is the Lord. Some believe they can manipulate or bargain with God. Others believe their false god will fight against the God of the Bible and somehow defeat Him. The truth is that the devil, death, hell, and the grave were swallowed up when Jesus overcame All at the Cross of Calvary. In that situation He used the forces against Him to do His Will in providing a way that man could be redeemed. Today He does the same - How about you? Do you see the power of the God of the Bible having Power over everything? Let us learn from today's text seeing that God has Power Over All.


Numbers 23

Numbers 23

 1And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams.

 2And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram.

 3And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the LORD will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place.

 4And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram.

 5And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.

 6And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab.

 7And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.

 8How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?

 9For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

 10Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!

 11And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether.

 12And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD hath put in my mouth?

 13And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence.

 14And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.

 15And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the LORD yonder.

 16And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus.

 17And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the LORD spoken?

 18And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:

 19God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

 20Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

 21He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.

 22God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

 23Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!

 24Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.

 25And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.

 26But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do?

 27And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence.

 28And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward jeshimon.

 29And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.

 30And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.