When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, on the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border…And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.

And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height,  and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“From Aram Balak has brought me,
the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:

‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
and come, denounce Israel!’

How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?

For from the top of the crags I see him,
from the hills I behold him;

behold, a people dwelling alone,
and not counting itself among the nations!

Who can count the dust of Jacob
or number the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the upright,
and let my end be like his!”

And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Sermon Questions:
1.   Do you believe that there are evil forces, dark powers at work in the world?  To what extent do they impact you?
2.   In what parts of your life are you ‘playing defense’, bracing for bad things to happen?
3.   What concerns you more: random, chaotic events happening to you or evil dark forces attacking you?
4.   Where in your life do you need more courage?
5.   Is Jesus a comfort to you as you consider all that can happen and go wrong in your life and the world?
6.   Can you imagine how God could turn tragedy in your life into blessing?  Does that give you courage?

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