Saturday, June 28, 2014

Balaam and the Talking Donkey Sunday School Lesson

Capture kids' interest with this Balaam and the talking donkey Sunday School lesson.

Lesson: (Note: Always students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

Ask students, What should you do if someone tells you to do something, but you know that thing is wrong?

What if it’s your parent or a teacher telling you to do the wrong thing? Should you do it then?

What if the President of the United States told you to do something bad, would you do it?

Well, today we’re going to learn about a man whose king wanted him to do something God said was wrong.

Summarize Numbers 22-24, asking questions as you go.

One day, when Moses and the Israelites were walking in the desert…Why are Moses and the Israelites walking in the desert? Can anyone tell me? The Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but God used Moses to rescue the Israelites from slavery. They were walking through the desert to their new home in Canaan, but when the people got to Canaan, they were afraid to go attack the people living there and take over, even though God had told the people that He would help them. So to punish the people for not trusting Him to help them, God told them that they could not go live in Canaan. They had to wait until every adult at that time had died and then God would take their children into Canaan to live there. So now in our story, the Israelites still have to live in the desert until all those adults, who didn’t trust God to help them, are dead.

So one day, when Moses and the Israelites were walking in the desert, they came close to the country of Moab. Balak, the King of Moab, saw the Israelites passing by and was afraid. “These people are going to take over my country!” he said.

Do you think King Balak was right? Were Moses and the Israelites going to take over his country? Moses and the Israelites were eventually going to take over Canaan, but they were just passing by Moab. They didn’t want to attack King Balak or his country.

But King Balak was afraid and he sent his advisers to the prophet Balaam. “Balaam,” they said, “please come and curse the Israelites for us since they are our enemies and have come to attack us.”

Do you think Balaam should put a curse on the Israelites?

Balaam answered the advisers, “Stay the night with me and I will tell you what God says in the morning.”

That night, God told Balaam, “Do not curse the Israelites. They are My people and I have blessed them.”

So Balaam woke up the next morning and told the advisers that he would not go with them to curse the Israelites.

When King Balak heard what Balaam said, he sent more advisers to him and offered to give Balaam money and treasures if he would come curse the Israelites for him. But Balaam wouldn’t go curse the Israelites. “Even if King Balak gave me all the money in his palace,” he said, “I would not disobey God. But stay the night with me and I will see if God tells me anything else.”

That night, God told Balaam, “Go with the advisers, Balaam, but be careful to do only what I tell you to do.”

So Balaam woke up the next morning, got on his donkey, and went with the advisers to meet King Balak. As the donkey was walking, an angel came and stood in front of the donkey, with a sword in his hand. Balaam couldn’t see the angel, but his donkey could. The donkey turned off the road and started walking through a field.

Why do you think the donkey did that? Why did he just turn off the road and start walking through the field? Because the donkey saw the angel standing in his way with a sword in his hand.

Then Balaam beat his donkey and made him get back on the road. A little while later, the donkey was walking through an alley, with buildings on both sides of him. The angel came and stood in front of him again and the donkey had to smoosh himself against one of the walls to avoid the angel. Balaam’s foot got smashed against the wall and he beat his donkey again.

Do you think Balaam should be beating his donkey like that?

Finally, the angel came and stood in front of the donkey one more time.

What do you think the donkey’s going to do?

This time, the donkey just stopped. He refused to go even one step further and just laid down on the ground. Balaam was so angry that he took a stick and started beating the donkey. Then God made it so that the donkey could talk and the donkey said, “Why have you beaten me these three times? Aren’t I always such a good donkey for you?”

Then God made it so that Balaam could see the angel, with his sword in his hand. “Do not beat your donkey,” the angel said. “And remember, only do what God tells you to do when you meet King Balak.”

When King Balak saw Balaam coming, he said, “Finally! Why didn’t you come the first time I sent for you, Balaam?”

“I’m here now,” Balaam answered. “But I can only say what God tells me to.”

Then King Balak said, “Put a curse on these Israelites for me.”

But instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam blessed them! King Balak was angry and said, “Balaam, I said for you to curse the Israelites, not bless them. Now I’m not going to give you any of the money I promised you.”

But Balaam answered, “I told you, I can only say what God tells me to.” Then Balaam went home and so did King Balak.

Did Balaam do the right thing? Yes.

Balaam did what he knew God wanted him to do, even though the king wanted him to do something different. For us, we have to listen to our parents and our teachers and the government, but we always have to remember to listen to God first. Even if everyone else tells us to do something, we have to listen to what God tells us to do.

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