Balaam’s talking donkey is a Bible story that fits well into a cartoon or sitcom. But the Bible? And yet, there it is. So what does an ancient talking donkey teach us today?
The story takes place as Israel approaches the nation of Moab on its way to the promised land. And this made King Balak of Moab nervous. Because Israel was conquering everyone in their path. And Moab was up next. So King Balak called on Balaam, a pagan prophet to curse them.
Balaam was a greedy, unethical man that practiced divination and magic arts. For him, this was a way to earn fast, easy cash.
But God threw a wrench in the deal by forbidding Balaam to curse Israel. Because Israel had His blessing.
The Bible Story Of Balaam’s Talking Donkey Teaches You Can’t Thwart God’s Sovereign Will
God wouldn’t let Balaam curse Israel, but gave him permission to visit King Balak. Although Bible scholars suggest he didn’t intend to obey God’s instructions. Therefore, God sent an angel to block the road. And impress on Balaam that He was serious about those instructions. Deadly serious.
So the angel blocks the road and Balaam can’t see him, but the donkey can. And doesn’t try to pass, even though Balaam beats him. Which is when the donkey speaks up–literally! And after the conversation, Balaam sees the angel in the road with a sword and realizes the donkey saved his life.
The point is, God is sovereign. And what He ordains will come true. He has a plan for the end of this world. For eternity. And for you.
Of course, you have free will too. And can make choices and changes within God’s permissive will. But not His sovereign will. Balaam finally got the message. Although it took a drastic event to get his attention, open his eyes and listen to God.
What might this look like today?
The Bible Story Of Balaam’s Talking Donkey Teaches That God Can Be Creative In Accomplishing His Will
God is not a stuffed shirt. An angry old man tossing lightning bolts. He’s creative. Has a sense of humor. And introduced a talking animal long before any of our TV shows. And it’s not the only time God used quirky methods to carry out His divine plan.
He told Gideon to cut his army of over 30,000 down to 300. Armed them with trumpets and torches. Had them surround the army of their enemy, blow the trumpets, hold up the torches and shout. He had Joshua march around the city of Jericho once for 6 days straight. And on the 7th day, march around it 7 times, blow trumpets and shout.
Can you imagine how ridiculous the Israelites must have looked? And felt?
The point is, God often tests your faith by asking you to trust Him. He invites us to join in working for His Kindgom. But often chooses unlikely leaders and surprising methods to carry out His will.
The Bible Story Of Balaam’s Talking Donkey Teaches That God Expects Us To Live By Conviction
God expected Balaam to stand by his convictions. And expects us to do the same. Of course, standing by convictions assumes you have moral standards. Which is the whole point of the Bible. It sets out God’s plan, purpose and path for this life and beyond. It’s His divine instruction manual.
The problem for Balaam is he appeared to lack convictions and moral standards. He was all about pursuing money. And since blessing Israel was part of God’s sovereign will, God made sure Balaam followed through on it.
Unlike the story of Balaam, God usually lets you choose to obey Him or not. Although there are encouragements and warnings about the benefits and consequences for when you do and don’t.
But living by Godly convictions is not easy. Especially in a world driven by material gain. Which is why the Bible is such an important resource. Because it provides instructions, principles and yes, commands for us to follow. Not to overwhelm us with rules, but to guide us in living holy lives that maintain good relationships with others.
It shows you how to live your best life now and forever.
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