Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lesson - Balaam's Donkey Speaks!

VERSES:   Numbers 22, 23, 24 , 31:8

MEMORY VERSE:   Numbers 22:28  "And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Galatians.  Write "Galatians" on slips of paper and pass out to the students at the end of class.

PRAYER:  Pray that we will all stay close to God and his Word and that we will listen with our ears and see with our eyes the dangers that might hurt us. God will take care of His children is they obey him.

SPECIAL SONG:   Be Careful Little Eyes (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog.)

VISUAL AID:  Large Picture of the Activity (see below)

  • The Israelites camped on the land of the Moabites, who were relatives of Lot. Who was Lot? Do we remember? That's right! Lot was Abraham's nephew! Now, after all these years, the Israelites were camping on land that Lot's relatives owned. During this time, there was a man named Balak who was king of the Moabites and had seen Israel destroy the Amorite army. All of the Moabites were definitely afraid of God's people because there were so many of them! Balak was afraid they might have a battle with the Israelites and the Israelites would win. Balak was the king, the one who was responsible for his people, and he was trying to think up an idea to make God's people leave his land.
  • Balak had heard of a man who was a prophet of God named Balaam, whom everyone respected, but he lived far away. Balak sent messengers to Balaam, telling him that there was a group of people who had come out of Egypt and numbered into the thousands and the Moabites were afraid of them. The king wanted Balaam to come and curse God's people because he had heard that whomever Balaam blessed was blessed and whomever he cursed was cursed. Balaam was exactly the person that Bakak, the king of Moab, wanted! The messengers said that the king of Moab had offered a great amount of money to Balaam if he would curse God people. But...there was one thing that the king did not know. He did not know that Balaam could only speak what God told him to speak because he was a prophet of God. Balaam said he would ask God to see if he should go with the messengers. God told Balaam not to go with the men. God said he should not curse God's people because they were His people and they were blessed. Balaam told the men he could not with go with them.
  • When the messengers went back to tell the king that Balaam would not come, the king thought Balaam wanted more money before he traveled to Moab, so the king sent the messengers back to Balaam, and told him that the king would give him more money, Balaam said that even if the king gave him a house full of gold and silver, he could not do or say any more than what God told him. Even though Balaam knew God's answer, he asked God again if he could go to Moab. It sounds like Balaam wanted to go to Moab, doesn't it? This time, God told Balaam he could go to Moab, but he could only speak what God told him to say. God was angry because Balaam went. Balaam should have known that God did not want him to go to Moab by the answers that God had given Balaam already. 
  • As Balaam was riding his donkey, the angel of the LORD stood in the way so he could not get by. The donkey could see the angel, but Balaam could not! The donkey saw the angel standing with a sword in his hand and the donkey turned out of the way of the angel and went into a field. Balaam, not seeing the angel, hit his donkey, wanting him to move, but the donkey would not. 
  • A little later, the angel stood in the way by the vineyards where the grapes grew and there were walls on each side. The donkey saw the angel, but Balaam did not. The donkey tried to get out of the way of the angel, but the way he had to turn, Balaam's foot was crushed against a wall. Balaam wasn't happy and hit his donkey again. Finally, the angel stood in the middle of a narrow road and there was no way to turn right or left, so the donkey sat down in the middle of the road. The donkey saw the angel, but Balaam did not. Oh, my! Balaam hit the donkey again. 
  • About that time, God opened the mouth of the donkey so the donkey could speak. Do donkeys really talk today? No! But this one really did in the Bible because it was a miracle from God. God was teaching Balaam a lesson. Balaam was s o upset, he did not even realize that having a conversation with a donkey was strange. When the donkey asked him what he had done to deserve Balaam's punishment of hitting, Balaam said it was because the donkey had made fun of him. The donkey asked Balaam if he had ever misbehaved like this ever before. Balaam said, "No." 
  • Just then, the LORD opened up Balaam's eyes and he saw the angel of the LORD. He quickly got down off the donkey and bowed down. The angel asked Balaam why he had hit his donkey three times when the angel had gone out to stand against Balaam because Balaam's journey was wicked in the sight of the LORD. The angel also said that if it had not been for the donkey, Balaam would have died. The donkey had saved Balaam's life. The angel reminded Balaam to only speak what God told him to say in Moab. 
  • At first, Balaam remembered to only say what God wanted him to say, to only bless the children of Israel, but after a while, the king's riches and money were what became important to Balaam. Eventually, Balaam became friends with the enemies of the LORD, and those enemies killed Balaam (Numbers 31:8). Our friends sometimes can corrupt us or make us evil like they are. We need to make good friends who love God.
"Older Student" Tips:

  • Miracles happened before the Bible was written to confirm the word of those who were from God (Mark 16:20), but today we have the Bible and do not need miracles or prophecies anymore (1 Corinthians 13:9, 10; James 1:25; Heb. 1:1, 2). There is no need for miracles when we have the written Word. 
  • Discuss 1 Corinthians 15:33 a little more, including choosing friends and making wise choices.
ACTIVITY:   The Donkey Saw The Angel, But Balaam Did Not! (3-D picture)
Materials needed:  9" x 12" yellow construction paper, 4 1/2" x 12" green construction paper, 41/2" x 4" black construction paper, 4" x 4" light brown construction paper, 4" x 4" dark brown construction paper, 4" x 4" black construction paper, 4" x 4" white paper, 2" x 4" orange construction paper, glue, scissors, crayons, marker.

  1. Pass out yellow paper. This is the foundation.
  2. Tear edge of green construction paper.
  3. Glue green paper to bottom of yellow paper.  This is the vineyard.
  4. Cut a 'path' out of the dark brown paper.
  5. Glue path down the middle of the green paper.
  6. Crumple black paper carefully.
  7. Unfold black paper.
  8. Cut two black paper walls.
  9. Fold edge of each black 'wall.'
  10. Glue each edge of wall to edge of brown path. (See picture above.)
  11. Cut donkey out of light brown paper. (2 ears + 4 legs + body + head = donkey.)
  12. Draw eye on donkey.
  13. Cut Balaam out of orange paper.
  14. Color only the back of head and shoes of Balaam.
  15. Fold on lines of Balaam.
  16. Glue feet and head of Balaam to path as if he is bowed down to the angel.
  17. Fold donkey's legs.
  18. Glue donkey's legs to path, so it looks like the donkey is laying down.
  19. Cut angel out of white paper. (Head + 2 wings + body = angel)
  20. Fold edge of white paper angel.
  21. Glue bottom edge of white paper to path, so the angel stands up.
  22. Write "The Donkey Saw The Angel, But Balaam Did Not!" and "Numbers 22:21-35" at top of yellow paper.
  23. If time allows, color vineyard.