093.1: I Cannot Go beyond the Word of the Lord; OT Lesson 16 (Core)

April 20, 2014

Engaging Gospel Doctrine

“I Cannot Go Beyond the Word of the Lord”

 

Class Member Reading: Numbers 22; 23; 24; 25:1-3; 31:1-16

Additional Reading: 2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 1:11; Revelation 2:14

Other Reading: the rest of Numbers 25

 

Balaam’s argument with his donkey has to be one of the most memorable stories from the Old Testament, but it will surprise you how many profound lessons can be drawn from this little story. After all, if you read closely, this is a story about an outsider (even mercenary!) prophet being faithful to what he knows is right.

This portion covers:

  • Lessons learned from Balak, Balaam, and even the donkey!
  • Acting on promptings
  • Prophets in and out of the Church

 

Fiona Givens and Adam Fisher provide an exceptional discussion.

You can access the Annotated Reading here (or PDF)

You can access the Lesson Notes here (or PDF)

 

Timeline

Lesson Part 1: Sunday School

0:00        Intro and Framing

3:44        Assigned Reading

9:07        Understanding the Narrative

14:53     Character Lessons

20:25     Acting on Promptings

Discussion Part 1

23:39     Introductions

25:18     Understanding Genre in Scripture

34:16     Learning from the Characters: Balak

45:53     Learning from the Characters: Balaam

1:08:22  Learning from the Characters: (She)Donkey

1:17:00  The Problematic Lesson Purpose

1:30:00  Insider Prophets and Outsider Prophets

 

 

Lesson Part 1: Sunday School

0:00        Intro and Framing

3:44        Assigned Reading

9:07        Understanding the Narrative

14:53     Character Lessons

20:25     Acting on Promptings

Discussion Part 1

23:39     Introductions

25:18     Understanding Genre in Scripture

34:16     Learning from the Characters: Balak

45:53     Learning from the Characters: Balaam

1:08:22  Learning from the Characters: (She)Donkey

1:17:00  The Problematic Lesson Purpose

1:30:00  Insider Prophets and Outsider Prophets

 

Resources

Animal Minds, RadioLab

Oaks, Dating vs. Hanging Out

Oaks, Two Lines of Communication

Discerning the Spirit, one of my favorite Sunday School episodes

Recognizing the Spirit, Mormon Matters

Kugel, How to Read the Bible

McKenzie, How to Read the Bible (about genre)

Haidt, Happiness Hypothesis

Ariely, Are We in Control of Our Decisions? TED

 

Thanks to Nathan Jones for postproduction, and as always to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music.

 

 

4 Responses to “093.1: I Cannot Go beyond the Word of the Lord; OT Lesson 16 (Core)”

  1. Jacque Says:

    Dear Jared,

    Thank you for giving your whole soul to this. I loved this week’s conversation about Balam and the Donkey. It was deeply enriching. I’m wondering if you see Balam as a fictitious character all the way around or if you think of just the donkey part as folklore. I’m just trying to get my mind around what is legitimate history and what is folklore. Also, I am wondering how to stomach and understand the scriptures in Numbers 25 and 31. Any thoughts on the killing of the Midianites? Again, thanks for your wonderful and helpful discussion. I feel very inspired now about how to make certain relationships in my life more holy. Have a great week! I’m so glad I found your site.

    sincerely,

    Jacque

    Reply

  2. Reed Russell Says:

    Jared, Fiona and Adam, Thanks so much for such a warm and wonderful conversation. The whole thing was such a pleasure that ended too soon. Adam’s smarts, Jared’s multiple gifts and Fiona should be a guest on every episode.

    Reply

  3. Karl Gee Says:

    Fiona referred to this incident, and I had to look it up… fascinating and very enlightening nugget of our history.

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2009/06/25/when-our-leaders-speak-the-thinking-has-been-done/

    Reply

  4. Andrea Says:

    I’m teaching this lesson tomorrow (we are behind) and I am trying to find a way to respectfully talk about Heavenly Mother without making people uncomfortable, as we don’t talk about her very often. I have been reading and pondering all week and I hope it goes well. It seems like the perfect thing to talk about on mother’s day.
    Thank you for your discussion.

    Reply

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