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Setting: talking to a neighbor

E: Hi Hannah, how are you doing?

H: OK. Just picked up the kids from daycare. You know, I was talking to their teacher and she
commended me for raising such nice kidsJude and Scarlett always share their toys with the
other kids. But she also mentioned how she couldnt believe how selfish the kids were this year. I
cant figure out why their parents dont do something about it.
E: Hannah, I totally agree with you. I have noticed too that kids definitely seem to be more selfcentered and greedy today. And when they become teenagers and young adults, that attitude
doesnt seem to go away. It reminds me of a Bible story from My Book of Bible storiesdo you
remember the childrens book I gave you that had stories and lessons from the Bible?
H: Yes, I still have it.
E: Well, I remember one of my favorite Bible stories was about a greedy man named Balaam. If
you want to help your kids learn about how greed can lead us to a wrong course, you could read
and discuss the story with them.
H. OK, but can you remind me of the gist of the story?
E. Sure. Let me search for it on my phone. OK the story about Balaam is in Numbers chapters 2124. This is right before the Israelites are getting ready to go into the promised land of Canaan,
and they are approaching the nation of Moab. The king of Moab is very afraid of the Israelites
because they have defeated all of the other nations around Moab. So he sends princes to a man
named Balaam. Now, Balaam is not an Israelite, but he does worship Jehovah God. The princes
offer money to Balaam so that he will come to Moab and curse Israel-I read Numbers 22:6. At
first Balaam refuses the offer, but then his greediness kicks in. Jehovah allows Balaam the free
choice go to Moab, and so Balaam gets on a donkey to go see the King of Moab.
H: So does Balaam end up cursing Israel?
E: Well, an interesting thing happens on the way to see the King of Moab. Jehovah does not want
Balaam to curse his people, so he sends an angel to stand in the way of Balaam. Balaam cant
see the angel, but Balaams donkey can and the donkey tries to turn away. Finally the donkey
lays on the road. Balaam starts beating his donkey. But then, Jehovah allows Balaam to hear his
donkey speak!
H: What?! What does the donkey say?
E: The donkey says, what have I done so that you should beat me? and Balaam replies: its
because you have made me look like a fool! Then Jehovah lets Balaam see the angel standing in
the road. The angel warns Balaam not to go to curse Israel. Read numbers 22:32.
H: So does Balaam turn back?
E: Amazingly, he continues on to Moab. He was headstrong in disregarding Jehovahs will in the
matter and was determined to gain his own selfish motive. His greediness continues to blind him
to a wrong course. But instead of cursing Israel, Jehovah miraculously makes Balaam bless Israel
three times. Even after all this, Balaam still greedily wanted to get a reward. He tried to get God
to curse Israel by scheming to seduce the Israelites to do bad things. Many Israelites did sin
against God because of this scheme. Eventually, Jehovah God ordered that Balaam be executed.
H: Wow, what an interesting story. I will definitely make sure to read this story to my kids to help
them realize how greed can lead us down the wrong path.