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Do you have a favorite Bible lesson? Maybe it was something you learned as a child. The stories of David and Goliath, or Jesus walking on the water or feeding the 5000 illustrate some great Bible truths about God’s power on the earth.

Possibly, as an adult, you gravitate more toward the deeper spiritual lessons on forgiveness or faith or grace or trust.  You know there are endless lessons we can or have learned through the years.

I’m not sure I have a favorite or even if I have one I’m more grateful for than another. Mostly it depends on what I’m going through at the moment. However today, I had to pick out a Bible lesson for my blogging calendar and my morning Bible reading in Numbers 22 highlighted an exceptional lesson…the story of Balaam and his very wise donkey. I’m not going to tell you the whole story so read Numbers chapters 22 and 23 to get the complete picture.

Balaam was an interesting guy. He wasn’t a follower of the One True God, yet he spoke to God and God spoke to him. Balaam practiced divination during the time when the children of Israel were wandering around the desert. He was more concerned with lining his own pockets then with doing the right thing. When Balak, the king of Moab, needed someone to curse the Israelites, he was confident Balaam was the man for the job. Funny thing was, Balaam would not curse the children of Israel because God instructed him not to. However, he still kept Balak on the hook for his divination fee.

While Balaam was riding his donkey to see the king, the Angel of the Lord stood in the road ahead of him. Balaam couldn’t see the angel with his sword drawn, but Balaam’s donkey could, and it turned off the road into a field to get away. Of course, the animal got a beating from his master as a result. This happens two more times until finally, the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth.

Donkey“What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Now, I don’t know about you, but hearing an audible voice from my donkey would be disconcerting, however, Balaam doesn’t seem bothered at all. He proceeds to have a conversation with his donkey, in the middle of the road, until the Lord opens Balaam’s eyes and he sees the Angel. Finally, Balaam gets it and he prostrates himself before the Lord.

God informs Balaam that He used the donkey to stop Balaam from taking a reckless path against the children of Israel. If the donkey had not turned away each time, God would have killed Balaam (but spared the animal). I think that probably got Balaam’s attention. I’d like to think I wouldn’t have let it get that far – I hope the talking donkey would have made me pay more attention.

I distinctly remember the first time I read this story. I was a pastor’s wife before I ever heard about the donkey who talked. I guess I’d never made it through Numbers in my hit-and-miss Bible reading back then. For some reason, I easily trusted all the other stories throughout the Bible. I believed He created the world from nothing, formed Eve from Adam’s rib, destroyed the earth by a flood, parted the Red Sea, turned water to wine, calmed the wind and waves, raised Lazarus from the dead, healed the multitudes of various diseases and cast out demons. No problem with any of those. But a talking donkey? That one seemed to stretch my faith. And I’m not sure why because the first talking animal in the Bible wasn’t Balaam’s donkey – it was Satan as a talking serpent in the Garden of Eden. I never had any problem accepting that story either.

My takeaway from the adventure of Balaam’s talking donkey is simple: If God can use a donkey to see the supernatural and give wisdom to his master, then there is hope for me. If a donkey can be an approved vessel of God, then I hope I would be faithful to His work as well. If I am willing, He will fill my mouth with His words. My purpose in life is to bring glory to God, whether it is by speaking or remaining silent.

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:11a

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

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