Old Testament
Lesson 16
“I Cannot Go Beyond the Word of the Lord”


Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will encourage us to submit to God’s will without hesitation.

Scripture references for study:  Numbers 22–24; Numbers 31:1–16
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.

Lesson 16 Handout (PDF format)


Balaam & Balak

  1. The Lord denied Israel entry into Palestine after ten of the spies returned with a negative report about Israel's ability to conquer the land.
  2. Many years later Israel began to move towards their promised inheritance.
  3. Balak, king of Moab, felt he should take action against this threat from the Israelites. (Numbers 22:2-4)
  4. HOW DID BALAAM HANDLE THIS REQUEST FROM BALAK?
  5. The princes returned to Balak and reported on Balaam's refusal. Evidently, Balak was a believer in Balaam and whatever powers he possessed, for he sent an impressive delegation back to make a second request. (Numbers 22:14-15)
  6. HOW DID BALAAM HANDLE THIS SECOND REQUEST?
  7. The second group of emissaries from Balak offered Balaam substantial rewards for disobeying the instructions he had received from the Lord.
  8. Balaam was justified in counseling with the Lord after the first visit of Balak's representatives. When the representatives returned the second time, Balaam  knew the will of the Lord.

The Danger of Balaam's Stubborn Insistence

  1. Balaam took his journey to consider Balak's request (see Numbers 22:22-29).
  2. "...and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him." (v22)
  3. READ NUMBERS 22:31-35. Balaam beholds the angel of the Lord.
  4. HOW MIGHT INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS STUBBORNLY TRY TO DO WHAT THEY WANT RATHER THAN SUBMIT TO GOD'S WILL OR THE RIGHTEOUS COUNSEL OF PARENTS OR LEADERS?
  5. HOW DID BALAAM RESPOND TO THE CHASTISEMENT OF THE LORD DELIVERED BY THE ANGEL?

Balaam Refuses To Curse Israel

  1. Balaam continued his journey to Moab where he met with Balak.
  2. Balaam and Balak built seven altars and made sacrifices on each altar of a bullock and a ram. (Numbers 23:1-2)
  3. Twice more Balak asked Balaam to follow him and to curse Israel. Balaam followed Balak, but twice more returned with a blessing for Israel. (Numbers 23:12-24:9)
  4. Balaam showed strength by resisting the offer of Balak and blessing Israel. He defended his stand stating that he could not "go beyond the commandment of the Lord."

The Israelites Destroy The Midianites & Slay Balaam

  1. Balak was not successful in getting Balaam to curse Israel. There was more success when "the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods." (Numbers 25:1-2)
  2. At the command of the Lord, the Israelites armed themselves to go to war against the Midianites for enticing the Israelites to sin. (Numbers 31:1-3)
  3. Israel went to battle against the Midianites and slew their leaders and all their men. (Numbers 31:7-8)
  4. WHAT LESSONS CAN BE LEARNED FROM THE STORY OF BALAAM?


Gospel Doctrine Notebook

  1. Record your thoughts on the story of Balaam. Why was Balaam sympathetic to Balak and the people of Moab? What meaning does this story have in your life? How can you resist the persistent efforts of the adversary?


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Changes last made on:  17 March 2014