Opening Questions and Prayer
Tell a story about a time you were using a product wrong or doing something the hard way and someone corrected you and made it a lot easier.
When you start getting out of sync with the way Jesus calls you to live, who helps correct you and get you back on the right track?
Ask God to humble you as you study His Word today.
Read Numbers 22:21-22a
Numbers 22:21-22a (All scripture is from the NLT unless otherwise noted)
21 So the next morning Balaam got up, saddled his donkey, and started off with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was angry that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way.
Why was God angry that Balaam was going?
See Numbers 22:12- But God told Balaam, “Do not go with them. You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed!”
Why was Balaam going even though God had clearly told him not to go?
Jude 1:11b may give a little insight. Jude 1:11b- Like Balaam, they deceive people for money.
When you find yourself going places God has told you not to go and doing things God has told you not to do, what is your motivation for doing those things?
What helps keep you on the right track when other things try to pull you away?
Read Numbers 22:22b-27
As Balaam and two servants were riding along, 23 Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat it and turned it back onto the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood at a place where the road narrowed between two vineyard walls. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So Balaam beat the donkey again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord moved farther down the road and stood in a place too narrow for the donkey to get by at all. 27 This time when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down under Balaam. In a fit of rage Balaam beat the animal again with his staff.
Who sees the angel of the Lord in this passage?
Why don’t the other three men see the angel?
What are some ways people miss seeing God by just focusing on their own circumstances?
What is one thing you can do this week to shift your perspective to focus on God more?
Read Numbers 22:28-31
28 Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” it asked Balaam.
29 “You have made me look like a fool!” Balaam shouted. “If I had a sword with me, I would kill you!”
30 “But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,” the donkey answered. “Have I ever done anything like this before?”
“No,” Balaam admitted.
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him.
How did Balaam respond to his donkey suddenly speaking to him?
Why was Balaam upset with the donkey?
How did Balaam respond when he saw the angel of the Lord?
When confronted with your sin, do you respond with pride or humility?
What is one way you could respond with humility when someone talks to you about sin in your life?
Read Numbers 22:32-34
32 “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. 33 Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.”
34 Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”
What light does the angel of the Lord shed on the donkey’s actions?
How does Balaam respond?
When have you resisted someone who was trying to help you?
Are you doing that now in any area of your life?
What did you do when you realized they were right, even if you didn’t want to hear it?
How is the Lord speaking to you today and who (or what!) might He be trying to correct you and get you back on the right path?
Numbers 22:34- Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”
Closing thoughts and prayer
Even when God clearly gives us directions, we still resist. We question Him and His ways and then still do our own thing. Balaam shows us what not to do and the way he is discussed in the rest of the Bible is negative. When we resist God and His ways, it will not go well for us. We will be used as an example of what not to do.
That’s why it’s so important to have someone in your life that is asking you the tough questions, and you’re asking them the tough questions. Confessing sin, repenting, and getting back on the right path is a part of the discipleship process.
Partner up and pray for each other. Pray that the Lord would help you to make the wise choice and stay on the right path. If you don’t have an accountability partner, pray that God would show you who you need to start that with. Pray for someone that the Lord is asking you to talk to that may be straying from the path God has for them. Finally, end your time praying for our leaders in the government and in our church.
Why did Balaam think he was doing the right thing?
See Numbers 22:20- That night God came to Balaam and told him, “Since these men have come for you, get up and go with them. But do only what I tell you to do.”
Why did God tell Balaam not to go, but then tell him to go when Balaam asked again?
When we pray and ask God for guidance, why do we question it when He gives us an answer we don’t like?
What answer has God given you recently that you don’t like?
Why don’t you like it?
What selfish way is God trying to reveal within you by answering like He did?
How can you make sure you are walking in God’s ways and not your own?
How did the donkey respond to the angel?
How did Balaam respond to the donkey?
What are some ways we kick back against people who are trying to help us?
Is there anyone in your life telling you the things you need to hear, but don’t want to hear?
How do you respond to them?
If you don’t have anyone in your life like that, who could be that person for you?
When will you ask them to ask you the tough questions?
How did Balaam’s donkey make him look like a fool?
When confronting someone about their sin, how can you handle the situation in a way that doesn’t embarrass them or make them look like a fool to others?
When someone is confronting you and does embarrass you, how can you handle that situation with humility?
Why is the process of being steered back to the right path difficult?
What are some checks and boundaries you can put in your life to help keep you from straying off the path God has you on?
Who asks you the tough questions you don’t want to hear?
Why do you need accountability in your life?
How would Balaam’s story have been different if he would have had someone steering him back to the right path?
Even after all this why did Balaam still go see Balak?
What are some ways you return to sin even after you confess?
How can you repent and turn from your sin, instead of just confessing and continuing to do wrong?