Hi again all!
Today’s story is from the book of Numbers, in chapters 22-24.
God was leading the Israelites (His chosen people) through the desert to the promised land. But they had disobeyed and not trusted Him, so they had to wander for 40 years!! Until the oldest generation had died and only their kids and grandkids would get to live in the land God promised them.
They had to fight a lot of different people along the way. When the people obeyed God and trusted Him, they won. When the people did not listen to God, they would not win.
The king of a people called the Moabites heard that the Israelites were coming and he knew he would have to fight them. So he sent for Balaam, a prophet (someone who speaks the words of God) to come and curse the Israelites. The king wanted Balaam to use God’s words to say bad things about the Israelites so they would lose the fight. He wanted the Israelites to be bad fighters, or to all get sick or die.
The king’s men went to Balaam but Balaam said God had told him he could only speak the words God gave him. But God didn’t say anything against the Israelites, so Balaam told the king….”I can’t curse them, because God hasn’t cursed them.”
The king didn’t like that answer, so he said “Come to me, Balaam and we can work something out.” (He would pay Balaam a lot of money to say bad things about God’s people!)
Balaam got on his donkey and rode to the king. But God knew Balaam would say whatever the king wanted him to, so as he was traveling, his donkey stopped. Just stopped in the rode. Balaam yelled at his donkey, he even hit his donkey. “Hurry up! Why did you stop?!”
And do you know what happened then? The donkey SAID to Balaam “Why are you hitting me?!”
Balaam answered “Because you won’t move!”
Just then Balaam saw an angel of God. He was blocking the road. The donkey had seen the angel and stopped, but Balaam did not. God did not want Balaam to go to the king and say bad things about the Israelites.
Balaam went anyway, but when he got there, he spoke the words of God and he said that the Israelites would be strong and brave and that they would win. He also said that anyone who went against God’s people would lose. This was a good choice…he said the words of God.
The king did not like these words. He was angry and sent Balaam home. But later, Balaam got the Israelites to marry people God didn’t choose for them and to believe in other gods. This was a bad choice. Balaam didn’t really love God. He obeyed God because he was scared of the angel…not because he loved God. He turned the people away from God, and God had a bad consequence for him. God used his donkey…even a donkey! to speak to Balaam. He was very patient with Balaam and tried to get him to do the right thing, but in the end, he didn’t love God and turned the Israelites to make bad choices and then had to have bad consequences.
Sometimes when we have a Bible story, we can see that the people made a good choice and followed God, but sometimes, we see that the people did not make good choices. The Moabite King made a bad choice in wanting to curse the Israelites and Balaam made bad choices in turning the people away from God.
When the Israelites did fight the Moabites, they won, just like God had said, and the king and Balaam (who had turned the people from God) were both killed.
God had promised the land to His people and as long as they obeyed and trusted Him, they would win. Anyone who opposed God and His people would lose.
For our craft, we cut out and glued donkeys on our paper and then drew the angel and Balaam on the donkey.
Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!