King Balak was not a fan of the Israelites because he believed they were too powerful for him and would overtake his kingdom. So when they came too close for comfort under the leadership of Moses, the King freaked and called on Balaam to help the situation.
Everyone knew that Balaam was a powerful sorcerer and prophet known for his effective curses and blessings (read Balaam’s story in Numbers 22:1 – 24:25). While he acknowledged that God was powerful, Balaam refused to believe that He was the only true God. Balaam was the kind of man who was ready to obey God’s commands only if it would benefit him.
But neither Balaam nor the King are the main characters of study today. No, I want us to instead focus on Balaam’s… donkey.
In those days, donkeys were considered all-purpose vehicles. They provided transportation, carried loads to and fro, grinded grain and plowed fields. They were very reliable and dependable.
Balaam’s donkey was no exception. But this donkey did something that no other donkey has done since.
He verbally rebuked his master.
Let’s back up a bit. You see, God was frustrated with Balaam’s greed for the wealth that King Balak was offering him to curse the Israelites. Balaam was blinded to the fact that God was trying to stop him. The Israelites were His chosen people. With dollar signs in his eyes, Balaam saddled his donkey determined to earn a paycheck from the King.
Three different times on his journey, an angel of the Lord appeared in an effort to stop Balaam… but Balaam was unable to see the angel. The donkey, however, did.
- The donkey saw the angel standing in the road with a drawn sword so she turned off the road and into a field. Balaam beat her.
- Later the donkey saw the angel standing on a narrow path between two vineyards with walls on both sides and as she pressed close to the wall, Balaam’s foot was crushed. He beat her again.
- Further down the path, the donkey saw the angel in a narrow place where there was no room to turn and so she laid down under Balaam. In his anger, he beat her a third time.
What I want to know is where was the Humane Society of Moab?
I love this next part. “Then the LORD gave the donkey the ability to speak. “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” it asked Balaam.” (Numbers 22:28)
You know what’s funny? Balaam answers! I guarantee you this… if one of my cats asked me a direct question, I’d freak out and call in priests to perform an exorcism. But not Balaam…
No. Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” (Numbers 22:29)
This passage goes on to tell us that the Lord eventually opened Balaam’s eyes, and when he saw the angel… Balaam fell to the ground. The Lord explained that his donkey had literally saved his life. How? Because she had seen the warnings ahead and faithfully tried to stop him from going anyway.
Friends, who is your donkey?
I know that sounds funny, but I am genuinely asking you to take a moment and think about it.
- Who is that reliable, dependable person that God has put in your life to speak truth into you?
- Which friend is sometimes frustrating because they won’t always go along with what you want?
- Who has God strategically placed in your life as a voice of reason?
Well in the end, Balaam ends up blessing the nation of Israel rather than cursing them. Just like God planned. This story reminds me of how thankful I am that God can use anyone or anything at anytime in anyway He sees fit to get our attention and/or complete His plan.
Even if it’s a donkey.