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Balaam and His Donkey

May 24, 2016

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Balaam  and His Donkey

In the Old Testament,  in Numbers, chapters 22-24,  we read the story  of a well-known prophet,  Balaam,  whom the heathen Moabites wanted  to hire  to put a curse  on the Israelites  as they were coming up out  of Egypt.    The Moabites were afraid  to see Israel  traveling their way.     They knew that Israel  was mighty  and they wanted  to have them destroyed,  instead of having  to encounter them.

There’s a lesson  in this story  for our everyday lives.

Balaam was a prophet  who was noted  for his “ability”  to curse  and bless.     Balaam knew the LORD  as God,  but he was also prone  to thinking  he could outmaneuver the LORD.     Plus,  Balaam was greedy  for money.     So,  when the Moabites wanted Balaam  to come  and curse Israel,  Balaam had to truthfully tell them  he could only say  what the LORD  told him — and,  he could not go  with the Moabites  because God said so.

That sounds good.     He was obeying the LORD.     But,  he sure wished  he had all that money  they offered him.     When the heathen Moabites came back  with even greater promises  of money,  Balaam again reminded them  that he could only speak  what God told him  to say.     But,  this time God gave Balaam permission  to go with the Moabites,  on the condition  that he only speak  what God said.

Ka-ching!     Ka-ching!     Balaam’s heart looked forward  to money  and riches.     He gladly saddled his donkey  in the morning,  eager to get on  with his venture.     He thought  he had hidden  all his greedy desires  from the LORD,  but no one can hide anything  from the LORD.     God saw  what was in his heart,  and we read  in Numbers 22:22-30,

But God was angry  because he was going,  and the angel  of the LORD  took his stand  in the way  as an adversary  against him.     Now he was riding  on his donkey  and his two servants were with him.   

When the donkey saw  the angel of the LORD  standing  in the way  with his drawn sword  in his hand,  the donkey turned off  from the way  and went  into the field;  but Balaam struck the donkey  to turn her back  into the way.

Then the angel  of the LORD stood  in a narrow path  of the vineyards,  with a wall  on this side  and a wall  on that side.     When the donkey saw the angel  of the LORD,  she pressed herself  to the wall  and pressed Balaam’s foot  against the wall,  so he struck her again.

And the angel  of the LORD  went further,  and stood  in a narrow place  where there was no way  to turn  to the right hand  or the left.     When the donkey saw the angel  of the LORD,  she lay down  under Balaam;  so Balaam was angry  and struck the donkey  with his stick.     And the LORD  opened the mouth  of the donkey,  and she said  to Balaam,  “What have I done  to you,  that you have struck me  these three times?”

Then Balaam said  to the donkey,  “Because you have made a mockery  of me!     If there had been a sword  in my hand,  I would have killed you  by now.”

And the donkey said  to Balaam,  “Am I not your donkey  on which you have ridden  all your life  to this day?     Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?”      And he said, “No.”

It was then  that the LORD enabled Balaam  to see the angel  with his sword drawn ready  to kill Balaam.     The angel told Balaam  how his donkey had just saved his life  these three times.     The angel would have killed Balaam  because his heart  was inwardly contrary  to God.

We,  too,  encounter obstacles  in our lives.     There are times  when nothing seems  to be going right.     There is just one problem  after another  and we don’t understand  what is going on.     The good ol’ faithful donkeys  in our lives  can seem  to get so ornery,  we wouldn’t mind  getting rid  of them.     It can really tick us off  and we can get really angry  at what is happening.     Maybe  we’ve got an angel  of the LORD  blocking our sinful ways.

That’s when we need  to look at what is  in our heart.

Are we honestly letting God  lead us  through this life?     Have we sneakily allowed  some sin  into our life,  feeling God  doesn’t know about it  or doesn’t care?     Are we  in the process  of purposely trying  to outwit the Lord  so that we can meet  our selfish desires  no matter what  God has said?

God loves us  very dearly anyway.     He knows  our every thought  and feeling — and He cares  about how we are straying away  from what is good  and right  for us eternally.     God cares when we are falling  into a pit  of sin — sin  that can destroy us.     We have obstacles  because God loves us  and is trying  to get our attention.     So,  let’s pay attention  to our donkeys.

Whatever our troubles,  it is always time  to turn to the LORD  for guidance  and forgiveness  for our wayward ways.     God will gladly help us  get back  on the right track.

As we firmly take hold  of God’s hand again,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Abba!     Father!     There is joy  and peace  in doing things  Your way again!”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect, but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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