Bible Stories for Young Adults


Satan’s “Great” Commission

Satan’s idea on how to destroy a nation is shown in the story of Balaam, who instructed the heathen king to send prostitutes into Israel to get the men of Israel to commit fornication with them.  To make fornication acceptable in Israel would cause God Himself to curse the nation of Israel, or so thought Balaam, the false prophet.  Read the story and find out what happened.

After the story there are suggestions for discussion, as well as deeper study one may do from the Bible along with this topic.

Memorize:  Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.  Proverbs 14:34

Reproach:  that which causes rebuke or blame; a disgrace or shame.

More and more members of the generation from 14 to 40 years of age are

beginning to lose hope.  Depression and despair are common as well as self-destructive behaviors.   What will the future in America be like?  Why does so much of life seem pointless?  Does God or faith have any relevance anymore?  If there is a God is He interested in me?

The thing that separates us from God is sin.  We can also see that sin often

separates us from a meaningful and satisfying relationship with other people.

How do we begin to correct or improve our situation?   Can we pinpoint one

particular sin that has had a most devastating effect on our national character and


Perhaps a clue as to what our nation has done, allowed, and even encouraged

that has corrupted us more than anything is found in the book of Numbers in

the Old Testament.  (Numbers chapters 22-25, 31)

The king of Moab and his Midianite allies were greatly distressed.  A whole

nation of refugees from Egypt ­- a few million of them -- had wandered in the

desert for nearly forty years and were moving in his direction.  Not only

were there so many that his land could not support them, but reports were

being made about their God having performed miracles on their behalf. God’s

miracles rescued them from the mighty Egyptian army, fed them in

the desert though they planted no crops, and gave them victory in battles against

the Amorites.

The king of Moab, King Balak, also knew of a certain prophet named Balaam

who lived near the Euphrates River and had a reputation for being able to

pronounce curses and blessings upon people or groups of people. His cursings

and blessings would always come true.

King Balak decided that since it would be impossible for the Moabite and

Midianite armies to defeat this refugee nation, the Israelites,  he would

hire Balaam to come to a place which overlooked the Israelite camp and curse

the Israelites for him.  Then it would logically follow that the Israelites

would fall as a nation and be easily defeated by his army, since God would

no longer be blessing them.

King Balak sent some of his bureaucrats to visit Balaam.  They told Balaam

that the king of Moab wanted to hire him to curse the Israelites.  Before

Balaam answered them he wanted to hear from the Lord.  The Lord told Balaam

that he could not go and curse the Israelites because God had determined to

bless them.  So King Balak¹s men returned to the king with this report.

But Balak would not give up.  He sent some of his most honored officials to

Balaam and promised even greater rewards.  At this, Balaam¹s heart turned

greedy.  Though he told the men that the Lord did not want him to go, he

wanted to go to reap these earthly rewards, but he told King Balak¹s men

that he would have to consult with the Lord.  That night the Lord spoke to

Balaam.  He said, “If the men call you to go with them, then you may go, but

you may only speak what I tell you to speak.” However, the overly eager

Balaam got up early the next morning, saddled his donkey, and packed his

necessary belongings.  He was ready to go with the men before they first

called him.  God was angry because of Balaam¹s behavior.

As Balaam was on his way to King Balak, a strange thing started happening.

His donkey, heretofore a dependable and predictable animal, seemed to be

going crazy.  First, it ran off the road into a field.  At this, Balaam beat

the donkey.  Next, it ran sideways into a wall, hurting Balaam¹s foot, so he

beat the donkey again.  Finally, the donkey fell down and would not move

another inch.  As Balaam was whipping his donkey for this third offense, a

man's voice came from the donkey¹s mouth, and though this unusual occurrence

would have alarmed most humans, Balaam answered the donkey.  Then he noticed

something terrifying standing in front of him and the donkey.  It was an

angel with a sword drawn ready to strike down the trespassing Balaam.

Balaam was where he should not be.  He was going to try to please a heathen

king whose intentions against God¹s own people, the Israelites, were only

evil.  Balaam offered to return to his home, but the angel told him to go on

to King Balak, but he dare not say anything but what the Lord would tell him

to say, for the Lord had determined to bless Israel and they would not and

could not be cursed by Balaam.

King Balak went out to meet Balaam even before he reached his palace, and

Balak reproved him for not coming sooner.  Balaam told the king that he

could only say what the Lord told him to say.  To appease the Lord, though,

he told King Balak to offer seven burnt offerings to the Lord.  At a high

place overlooking the Israelite camp, the seven offerings were offered, but

Balaam, after consulting the Lord, could only come back with a blessing for

Israel.  This attempt to please the Lord with seven sacrifices occurred

three times, but each time Balaam could not curse Israel.  The Lord would

not permit it,  for from Israel would come a Savior to the world, the One

Christians recognize to be Jesus Christ who came approximately 1500 years

later.  Balaam even gave some important prophecies about the Christ.

After these blessings on Israel, King Balak complained, “I hired you to come

and curse Israel but you have blessed Israel these three times.  Your God

has kept you from the rewards I would have given you.”

After a few more words of prophecy, it appears that Balak and Balaam parted

ways, but Balaam had given Balak some other advice before he left, according

to Revelation 2:14, Jude 1:11, and 2 Peter 2:14-16.  Still greedy for

earthly wealth and enticements, Balaam let Balak know that there was a way

he could make God Himself curse Israel.  He instructed Balak to send an

bevy of seductive women, both Moabites and Midianites, to go into the camp

of Israel to invite the men to their pagan festival of worship and to

entice them to commit fornication.  (Numbers 31:16).  Fornication is any

kind of sexual activity outside of legally-sanctioned, socially recognized


King Balak followed Balaam¹s advice.  The women visited the camp, deceived

many Israelite men by introducing them to their idolatrous religion, and

then seduced them physically to commit the sin of fornication.

What were the results of this horrible sin?  Thousands of Israel's men began

to die in a plague.  As people wept before the tabernacle over the sin and

the plague, an unrepentant Israelite fornicator named Zimri brought Cozbi, a

Midianite princess, into his tent to lie with her.  (Presumably, the

previous fornication had taken place outside the camp of Israel.)  When

Phinehas the priest saw this brazen act of sexual defiance, he rose up from

the congregation, ran into Zimri's tent with his javelin, and drove it

through  their bodies together.  At this zealous action by Phinehas, God

stopped the plague.  God was merciful because, instead of cursing his people

everlastingly, he merely disciplined them, preserving  them as a nation

which would bring forth the Messiah.

What can we learn from this Bible story?  It should tell us that we as a

people have accepted the words of idolatrous or irreligious people.  Like

thousands of Israelites of thousands of years ago, we have believed the lie

that sexual activity outside of marriage is just as acceptable as sex within

marriage.  We have been suffering the consequences of fornication ever since the

sexual revolution of the late 1960's. 

In the King James Version of the Bible, sexual activity outside of marriage

is called fornication, which is the word from which the four-letter ”f”

slang curse word comes.  Fornication does bring a curse.  A nation that

accepts and engages in fornication will be turning the brighter blessings of

God away from itself and incurring His discipline or wrath.

Jesus Christ had a great commission, or "marching orders," that He gave to

his followers after He was resurrected.  The task he set them out to do was,

"Go and teach all nations...teaching them to observe all the things I have

commanded you."  (Matthew 28:19).

The Devil also has a "great" commission which he gives to his followers.  It

is, "Go and destroy all nations...teaching them to break every commandment

of God."  The false prophet Balaam and King Balak, whom he advised, sent the

immoral and idolatrous women into the camp of God's people effectively

saying, "Go and destroy Israel...teaching them to ignore God's commandments

and seducing them to commit fornication."

Look around us now.  Could we not say that Satan has commissioned his

followers to teach and flaunt his abominable ways?  Could we not say that

even Christians, including active church members, have listened to the

Balaams of our day and are enticed to commit fornication and adultery?

Worse than that, many feel such guilt and shame that they seem to never

forgive themselves.  Many wonderfully talented people are on the sidelines,

not in victorious service for Christ, because they are demoralized by their

sins, from which Jesus Christ came to save them.

The family is the principal conveyor of values in any society.  But the

family is being destroyed because marriage is being destroyed, and marriage

is being destroyed because the boundary of marriage has been thrown away.

And what is this boundary?  That sexual activity is exclusive and is to be

reserved only for a man and woman who are married to each other.  Without

this moral value, social order will collapse.

There is still hope for the church of Jesus Christ, for Christ also said

just before His great commission that "all authority in heaven and on earth"

had been given to Him.  Just after the commission he also told his followers

that he would be with them even to the end of the age.  So, it is our duty

to learn as much as we can from Jesus Christ and to obey Him so that we may

be a part of Christ's kingdom which will never end.  It will be a

victorious kingdom which will grow and grow until people from every nation

and tribe will worship and obey their Lord Jesus Christ.

Further thoughts.  (To be discussed in a class setting.)

1.  In the 1970's, a cult known as the People¹s Temple, followed their

leader Jim Jones to South America to set up a settlement in the jungle.  The

cult consisted of over 1000 people, but Jim Jones was a sexually immoral

person who had sex with various members of his cult.  This should have been a

red flag to any member of the cult had they known the Bible¹s teachings

against sexual immorality.  The cult ended up committing mass suicide in

November 1978 at the orders of Jim Jones.  Why should we “flee

fornication,” as the scripture tells us?

2.  In  1968 a cult was started called the "Children of God."  Though they

had many colonies, often near University campuses from which they recruited

members, they had one overall leader named Moses David Berg.  They lived in

communes and became a free-love sex cult.  They used a verse in the New

Testament to justify their sex sins.  It was, "To the pure all things are

pure."  (Titus 1:15).  Look at this verse in context and find in your mind a

way to explain that this verse does not mean that fornication is "pure" for


3.  What effect does it have on someone¹s personal life once he/she falls

into the sins of lust, sensuality (necking, petting and sexual touching),

and other types of fornication?

4.  How does the change in a person who indulges in sex sin affect others?

5.  How can this be a chain reaction so that a whole nation becomes


6.  In what ways has our country been idolatrous?

7.  Balaam thought that God would curse Israel and allow that nation to be

destroyed if it were seduced into idolatry and fornication.  What actually

did happen to the nation after it was seduced?  What happened to the ones

who  were Satan's  "commissioners?"

8. .  How do you suppose the story of Balaam's interactions with the heathen

King Balak got into our Bible?

Dig Deeper.  (Use a notebook to record your answers as you study.)

For most of these answers you will be studying Numbers 22-25.  It may be easier to go through this using your Bible, but clicking on links for other passages.

1.  As you read Numbers 22:1-21, list facts about Balaam  that would make

the casual reader of the Bible believe  that Balaam was a true prophet of


2.  Compare the above list to the words about Balaam in 2 Peter 2:15-16,

Jude 1:11, and Revelation 2:14

3.  Read Numbers 22:22-33 and tell how the donkey saved Balaam's life.

What does 2 Peter 2:16 say about Balaam's mental state at this time?

From these verses, how do we know Balaam is not in the Lord's will?

4.  In Numbers 22:34, what does Balaam admit about himself?

Does admitting you are a sinner make you right before God?

5.  Read Numbers 22:35-41.  What did Balak do to show he was very eager to

have Balaam curse Israel?  What does Genesis 12:3 say about those who curse

the descendants of Abraham?

6.  Read Numbers chapter 23.  What does Balaam tell Balak to do to try to

please God? 

How many sacrifices were offered?  What kind of sacrifices should have been

offered? (See I Samuel 15:22, Psalm 4:5, Psalm 51:17, Psalm 107:22, Mark

12:33, Hebrews 13:15-16, Romans 12:1), How many times did Balaam tell Balak

that he could only speak what the Lord telling him to speak?  In this

chapter, what do you see  that could be a reference to Jesus Christ?

7.  Read Numbers 24:1-9.  What does this prophesy, given by the Spirit of

God, say about Israel?

8.  Read Numbers 24:10-25.  What does Balaam prophesy about Christ?

9.  At the end of this chapter it appears Balaam and Balak part ways without

Balaam's getting any reward, but other passages in the Bible shows he

obtained the rewards he wanted by advising King Balak to send immoral women

into the Israelite camp, which would make the men fall into sin and then God

Himself would curse them.  We see the results of this advice having been

taken in Numbers 25:1-10.  What tragic thing happened and why?

10.  Read Numbers 31:7-18.  How did Balaam die?

Why was Moses angry that they spared the women?

Challenges this week:

1)  Share something of what you learned or heard in today's Bible story with

at least one person this week.

2)  Memorize the verse.  Proverb 14:34

The unrepentent Zimri, an Israelite, brought Cozbi, a Midianite princess, into his tent to lie down with him.  Was it worth it? 

Scroll down this page to see illustrations of the story/lesson along the right side. 

What did Balaam’s donkey know that Balaam did not know?

Balaam is scared to go against God and ends up blessing the Israelites, but what evil scheme does he then devise?

Why are so many young adults in America depressed, hopeless, or confused?

Could the king of Moab, or any king, manipulate God and upset His plan?

In His great commission, Christ said that He had all authority in heaven and earth and that he would be with us always, even to the end of the age.  Matthew 28: 18-20

A false prophet of the 1970’s who practiced fornication was Jim Jones.

Moses David Berg also started a cult in which sexual sin was practiced.

To get the full benefit of this lesson, dig deeper in your Bible.  If you aren’t sure how to look up the passages on the left, go to and just type in the references in any Bible version you prefer. Presently all links already highlighted are linked to the New King James Version.