WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET YOUR ATTENTION?
Most everyone who was raised in the church has heard the Old Testament story in Sunday school about Balaam and his talking donkey. You may have even heard or used the old cliché’, If God can use a donkey, then surely He can use you. For the beast of burden to have the ability to speak is undeniably a supernatural manifestation.
During my recent devotions, I was reading this chapter again and realized there are definitely deeper spiritual truths to be understood.
As a brief background, King Balak of Moab sent for the prophet, Balaam, to curse the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. They had already defeated two kings and he was fearful of them.
Even though he was not an Israelite, Balaam was on speaking terms with God. During his conversation, God told him not to go with the king’s men. “You cannot curse these people because they are blessed.”
When Balak’s men returned and told the king that Balaam had refused to come, he sent for him again, promising to reward him handsomely. “Come and put a curse on these people for me,” he begged.
When God saw that Balaam was going to the king anyway, He was angry. He sent an angel and used a donkey, trying to get a message to him.
1. First, the angel stands in the road to block the way. When the donkey saw the angel she went off the road into a field.
2. Next, the angel appears in the narrow path which runs between two vineyards with walls on each side. This time the donkey presses up against the wall and crushes Balaam’s foot.
3. Lastly, the angel stands in a constricted place where there was no way to move. The donkey could not turn to the right or to the left, so she just lays down underneath of Balaam.
Each of these times Balaam becomes angry with the donkey and beats her with his staff.
After the third beating, THE LORD MOVES MIRACULOUSLY and opens the donkey’s mouth. She asks Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
The amazing thing is that Balaam doesn’t even question a speaking donkey. Instead of recognizing God’s handiwork, he answers her like it was an ordinary event. He furiously threatens, “If I had a sword, I would kill you.”
Then, the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes. The angel spoke to him, “I have come to oppose you because your path is a reckless one. If the donkey had not turned away I would have definitely killed you, but I have spared you because of her.”
Balaam finally comes to his senses and says, “I have sinned. I did not realize it was you working.”
Think about it. God worked through the angel and the donkey three times on Balaam’s behalf.
1. The first time the donkey strays into the field. (Balaam’s plans were disrupted.)
2. The second time, the donkey crushes his foot against the wall. (God allowed severe pain to come to Balaam.)
3. The last time, the donkey sits down underneath of Balaam. (Balaam’s whole world was shut down.)
God is patient and wants the best for us, but do we hear His voice and obey, or like Balaam, let our emotions control us? Do we attend unto his voice at the first disruption of life, or do we have to go through pain or have our world shut down before we pay attention?
It’s something to think about! God is speaking. Are we listening?
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)
About Tammie Herring
Tammie Herring, Southern Gospel Times editor, songwriter, musician, singer, pastor’s wife. Third generation, Tammie is no stranger to ministry. During the ‘70’s and ‘80’s she traveled nationally with her family, The Lockwoods.
Tammie has had songs recorded by Tribute Quartet, Dove Brothers, The Browns, The Hyssongs, Mitchel Jon and more. She and her husband, Michael, have two daughters, Sarah and Anna and reside in Augusta Springs, VA.
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