Balaam and His Donkey
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!”
A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and GOD of gods.
Pray for our country.
The LORD made this day, let us rejoice and be glad in Him.
The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
How blessed are those who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
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.