Opening Questions and Prayer
Tell a story about a time you got stuck and how the situation got resolved. (This could be from being stuck in a giant traffic jam, to being stuck at a job you didn’t like)
What are some ways people get stuck in life?
When you feel stuck, how does that impact your relationship with Jesus?
Ask the Lord to guide your time together. Pray that He would show you the places where you’re stuck and how to move forward with His guidance.
Read Numbers 22:36-41
Number 22:36-41 (All Scripture is from the NLT unless otherwise noted)
36 When King Balak heard that Balaam was on the way, he went out to meet him at a Moabite town on the Arnon River at the farthest border of his land.
37 “Didn’t I send you an urgent invitation? Why didn’t you come right away?” Balak asked Balaam. “Didn’t you believe me when I said I would reward you richly?”
38 Balaam replied, “Look, now I have come, but I have no power to say whatever I want. I will speak only the message that God puts in my mouth.” 39 Then Balaam accompanied Balak to Kiriath-huzoth, 40 where the king sacrificed cattle and sheep. He sent portions of the meat to Balaam and the officials who were with him. 41 The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth-baal. From there he could see some of the people of Israel spread out below him.
What had God originally told Balaam to do? (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!”)
How did Balak get Balaam to compromise his standards?
How does compromising our standards move us more towards being stuck in the middle of what God wants us to do and what the world wants us to do?
What’s one area you compromised in this past week?
Read Numbers 23:7-13
7 This was the message Balaam delivered: “Balak summoned me to come from Aram; the king of Moab brought me from the eastern hills.‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me! Come and announce Israel’s doom.’
8 But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the Lord has not condemned? 9 I see them from the cliff tops; I watch them from the hills. I see a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations. 10 Who can count Jacob’s descendants, as numerous as dust? Who can count even a fourth of Israel’s people? Let me die like the righteous; let my life end like theirs.”
11 Then King Balak demanded of Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. Instead, you have blessed them!” 12 But Balaam replied, “I will speak only the message that the Lord puts in my mouth.” 13 Then King Balak told him, “Come with me to another place. There you will see another part of the nation of Israel, but not all of them. Curse at least that many!”
How is Balaam trying to remain faithful to the Lord instead of getting stuck in the middle?
What’s the blessing Balaam pronounces over the Israelites?
How does Balak continue to try to get Balaam to come back to the middle?
What are some things that help you to remain faithful to God when the enemy tries to get you to compromise?
Read Numbers 23:17-23
17 So Balaam returned and found the king standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. “What did the Lord say?” Balak asked eagerly.
18 This was the message Balaam delivered:
“Rise up, Balak, and listen!
Hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
20 Listen, I received a command to bless;
God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
21 No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob;
no trouble is in store for Israel.
For the Lord their God is with them;
he has been proclaimed their king.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
23 No curse can touch Jacob;
no magic has any power against Israel.
For now it will be said of Jacob,
‘What wonders God has done for Israel!’
What does Balaam say about God and His character?
Why does Balak continue to rebel against God even after seeing that the Lord is clearly with the people he’s against?
Why does Balaam continue to stay in this place of compromise?
How does the enemy appeal to our desires to get us to live in the middle?
Read Numbers 24:9-17, 25
Numbers 24:9-17, 25
9 Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down; like a lioness, who dares to arouse her? Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you.”
10 King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, “I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times. 11 Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the Lord has kept you from your reward.”
12 Balaam told Balak, “Don’t you remember what I told your messengers? I said, 13 ‘Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord.’ I told you that I could say only what the Lord says!14 Now I am returning to my own people. But first let me tell you what the Israelites will do to your people in the future.”
15 This is the message Balaam delivered: “This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of the man whose eyes see clearly, 16 the message of one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who bows down with eyes wide open:
17 I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob;
a scepter will emerge from Israel.
25 Then Balaam left and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.
Even though Balaam had made compromises, how did he choose to follow the Lord’s leading?
What happens as a result of Balaam taking a stand for the Lord?
What area of your life does the Lord want you to stand for Him in?
How does the Lord want you to spread His message of hope to others this week?
What do you need to walk away from and return home to the Lord?
Read Numbers 25:1-3 & Revelation 2:14
While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. 2 These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. 3 In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord’s anger to blaze against his people.
14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin.
Even though Balaam didn’t curse the Israelites, how did he teach Balak to sabotage the Israelites?
Why would Balaam have done this?
What are some ways we want to follow both God and the world?
What happens when we live in the middle?
Who is someone you need to talk to this week that you have seen making little compromises that could lead to dire consequences?
How can you approach this conversation with grace?
Numbers 24:25 Then Balaam left and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.
Closing thoughts and prayer
It’s easy to slip into being stuck in the middle. We try to live as the world does, but still go to church, pray, even have Bible studies so we can help justify the compromises we’ve made. For Balaam, it was the money and power that made him make those compromises. He was hoping that by going to Balak, he would get the wealth, but then would still do what the Lord told him.
Many who claim to follow Jesus try to do the same thing. We go after the worldly pleasures, but still try to have some Jesus in our life so we feel good. We can’t live that way. The Lord calls us to live for Him, and Him alone. When we seek Him first, He will provide all that we need.
Spend some time praying for those areas in which you’ve compromised. Repent and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness. Pray that the Lord would help you to talk to someone this week who is making compromises. Pray for His wisdom in those matters, and for humility when someone talks to you about your compromises. End your time praying for our nation’s leaders, and the leaders of our church.
How does Balaam try to justify his disobedience to the Lord?
What are some ways we justify sin in our own life?
How does justifying our sin move us more towards being stuck in the middle?
Who is someone who can help you when you find yourself drifting to the middle, or who will talk to you before you even start going that way?
Why does Balak keep trying to get Balaam to compromise after Balaam has told him he will only say what God says?
Who are some people that try to get you to make little compromises towards the middle in your relationship to God?
What are some ways you can still share the love of Jesus with them while distancing yourself from the negative influence they may have on you?
What does God want to do through the nation of Israel?
What does God want to do through His followers today?
What happens when His followers drift away from God’s truth and towards the middle?
What is a daily practice you can do to stay close to God and not drift toward the middle?
Numbers 24:9-17, 25
How do you know when you should stay in a situation because the Lord has you there doing His work, and when to walk away because you are starting to drift to the middle?
Why does Balak refuse to follow after the Lord, even after hearing a prophecy of the coming Messiah?
How did Jesus show us how to live completely for the Lord and not compromising?
What are some ways we choose to disobey the Lord, even though we’ve clearly seen that His ways are better than ours?
Numbers 25:1-3 & Revelation 2:14
How could Balaam, after receiving revelation from the Lord, still go against the Lord and help the Israelites enemies?
How did the Israelites compromise instead of listening to the Lord?
What are some choices you need to make today to go towards the Lord and get out of the middle?