In Num 2:12-13, God told Balaam, specifically, not to go with the men who came from Balak and not to curse Israel because Israel was blessed. So, Balaam knew, in no uncertain terms, exactly what God wanted him not to do and why. When Balak’s men came back and tried to get Balaam to go with them the second time, Balaam asked God whether he should go. The Lord told Balaam, specifically, in Num 22:20, that he should only go IF the men called him. He didn’t wait for them to call. He saddled his ass and took off the next day, knowing full well that God didn’t want him to go.
While he was riding, Balaam’s ass turned aside out of the way [Num 22:23], crushed Balaam’s foot against a wall [Num 22:25], and fell down under Balaam [Num 22:27]. Balaam should have realized, in the circumstances of his ride, that God was stopping him. God was reinforcing what he had originally told Balaam and Balaam wasn’t getting it. Is that you? God means what he says and we should pay attention when God reinforces what he says in the lessons of our life.
Now the case with Balaam gets bizarre. In Num 22:28-30, God opened the mouth of the ass who spoke to Balaam with a man’s voice [2 Pet 2:15-16]. Balaam still didn’t get that God was talking to him. God was trying to get his attention and stop him. In your life, God will use circumstances to show you what he is dealing with you about. Pay attention.
As it turns out, God gave Balaam permission to go but restricted him to saying only what God told him to say [Num 22:35]. You understand that Balaam should have had no doubt at all that God would not curse Israel. Nevertheless, we see from Deut 23:5, that Balaam tried to curse them. But God turned the curse into a blessing. You can persist in your disobedience against God, but to no avail.
Balaam thought he could outsmart God and get what he ultimately wanted all the time. He wanted the reward and he wanted the honor that Balak had promised. So, according to Rev 2:14, Balaam, motivated by the wages of unrighteousness [2 Pet 2:15], cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel. That’s how they ended up committing fornication with the daughters of Moab and eating things sacrificed to their idols [Num 25:1-3]. As a result, of this sin, according to Num 25:9, 24,000 of the children of Israel died in a plague. When you persist in your disobedience and ignore all the lessons that God is trying to teach you, many others can be hurt by your decisions.
In the end, according to Num 31:8, Balaam was killed when Israel fought against the Midianites. His death was needless. God had warned him with his words from the beginning to not go with those men and to not curse Israel. He didn’t believe God and he didn’t listen when God was dealing with him along the way.
Don’t be like Balaam. Realize that God means what he says and when he keeps trying to teach you through the lessons of your life that he meant what he said, you’d better listen and do what he says. Otherwise, many others could be hurt and you could die.