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Sermon Outlines - Higher Praise Topical Sermons - BALAAM

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   A. Man is unique among all of God's creation in that he has the
      ability to learn from history.
      1. Man has the ability to record events as he lives them;
         thus, leaving a record for future generations.
   B. The Bible is the very best in recording past history from which
      we can learn.
      1. We can learn from the good conduct of others.
      2. Also, we can learn from the mistakes and bitter
         experiences of others.
         a. It is wonderful that we don't need to have those
            same bitter experiences in order to learn and profit.
   C. Paul taught - Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11
   D. In this lesson we want to examine the mistakes of a unique
      man with hope that we can learn and avoid the same mistakes.
      1. The man is the prophet Balaam.

   A. Moab and Midian (ancient relatives of Israel) form an alliance
      and try to hire Balaam to prophesy a curse against Israel.  
      1. They came with the diviner's fee in their hand; e.g., a fee
         that was paid to soothsayers and fortune tellers.  Num.
      2. Numbers 22:8-14
         a. Vs. 12 - This should have ended the matter once for
   B. However, when more princes came promising more money
      and honor, Balaam wanted very much to go with them.  Num.
      1. His answer in verse 18 was a good one.
         a. No amount of money or place of honor is worth the
            compromise of one's convictions.
         b. Also, no amount of threats or persecutions should
            cause us to compromise our convictions.
      2. Balaam has a very real inward problem, the same one
         Judas had, the love of money.  2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11

   A. It is hard to understand here why God tells Balaam to go, and
      then becomes angry with him when he goes.  Num. 22:20-22
   B. However, God had plainly spoken to Balaam, "You shall not
      go with them," but Balaam was not satisfied with that.  He
      wanted more.
      1. There was a man in a saloon who had far too much to
         drink.  When asked for another drink, the bartender
         replied with the age old question, "Don't you think you
         have had enough?"  The drunk replied, "But I want more
         than enough!"
      2. God had stated enough to Balaam, but He wanted more
         than enough.  This shows his lack of honor and respect
         toward God.
   C. Human nature doesn't change.
      1. God has revealed His will about how to obtain
         forgiveness of sins but people want more.  Acts 2:38
      2. God has revealed His will about music in worship but
         people want more.  Eph. 5:19
      3. God has revealed His will about divorce and remarriage
         but some want more.  Matt. 19:9
      4. Honor and respect toward God demands that we do
         exactly as God ordained, no more and no less.
         a. Look at the example of King Saul.  1 Sam. 15:18-23

   A. Three times his donkey tries to avoid the angel.  Num. 22:23-
   B. God causes the donkey to speak.  Num. 22:28-30
      1. I find this rather amusing.
         a. Evidently Balaam is so wrapped up in his anger that
            he doesn't realize that he was talking with a donkey.
         b. When a donkey starts talking to us, we need to
            recognize that something strange is going on!
         c. Radio commentator Paul Harvey tells of an
            experiment involving a young chimpanzee who
            would always try to slip out of his cage when the
            door was opened.  Scientists thought this young
            chimp was very intelligent, so far as chimps go, and
            was a good specimen to teach communication skills.
            For fourteen years, project directors labored
            diligently and patiently with this chimpanzee,
            providing things in its cage to enable it to form
            certain syllables.  Finally the day arrived when it
            seemed that the chimpanzee was actually going to
            construct a sentence from the symbols it had been
            learning.  Word went out, and other scientists
            crowded into the room and gathered around the
            cage.  At last, the first message from the world's
            most pampered, most cared for, most patiently
            trained chimpanzee was about to come forth. 
            Millions of dollars had been spent on this project. 
            The scientists could hardly contain themselves as
            they pressed around the cage.  They watched
            breathlessly as symbols were formed into words and
            into a sentence.  The chimpanzee said, "I want out!"
   C. The angel gives instructions to Balaam.  Num. 22:31-35
      1. Balaam tells Balak that he will speak only the Word of
         God.  Num. 22:36-38

   A. Balak becomes angry with Balaam and sends him away
      without a reward.  Num. 24:10-14
   B. From all of this, it might appear that Balaam wasn't such a
      bad character after all.  
      1. However, this is not the end of the story.

   Rev. 2:14
   A. Numbers 25:1-9 immediately follows the story of Balaam.
      1. Balaam knew that the way to cause God to curse Israel
         was to get them to sin.
      2. Balaam tried to turn God away from his people and
         failed.  Deut. 23:3-5; Joshua 24:9-10
      3. However, he was successful in turning the people away
         from God.
      4. When Israel sinned at Peor, God sent a plague, killing
   B. Later, when there was war with the Midianites, Balaam was
      also killed with the sword.  Num. 31:8-16
      1. Notice that it was "through the counsel of Balaam" that
         these women caused Israel to sin.  Vs. 16
   C. Never under any circumstances should we teach or encourage
      others to do wrong.
      1. We should never encourage or condone anyone in doing
         something we would not do ourselves.

   A. Not once was Balaam labeled a "false prophet."
      1. He was a prophet of God and revealed the mind of God.
      2. His problem was that he didn't live up to his own words.
   B. He made several good statements, but didn't follow any of
      1. Numbers 22:18-19 - The love of money is the root of all
         evil.  1 Tim. 6:10
      2. Numbers 22:38 - If anyone speaks, let him speak as the
         oracles of God.  1 Pet. 4:11
      3. Numbers 23:10b - This should be our goal.  Rev. 14:13
   C. Remember the Lord's words against the scribes and
      Pharisees.  Matt. 23:2-3
      1. Let us first remove the beams out of our own eyes, and
         then we can help others.

   A. We can learn from the life of Balaam.
      1. We need to be on guard against internal corruption.  It is
         that subtle internal contamination that will destroy us. 
         Prov. 4:23
      2. We need awesome respect for what God says.  If God
         has revealed Himself on a matter, let us accept it as is,
         and do not "seek what more the Lord has to say."
      3. We should never teach, condone, or encourage others in
         doing wrong.
      4. We need to speak forth words of truth and abide in them.
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