Listen to Talking Donkeys!
One movie that always tickles my funny bone is the movie “Shrek.” Nothing spells humor like a big green ogre.
In the original movie, Shrek spends his days trying to impress the beautiful Fiona. He is shocked to discover at the end of the day that she turns into a green ogre just like him. A true lesson in the fact that we are all the same “deep down.”
But I have to admit, “Donkey,” a talkative and sometimes smart alec donkey is my favorite character. His classic comebacks and witty one-liners always leave me dabbing tears of laughter from eyes.
When was the last time you heard a donkey talk? I have to admit, it’s not something I have ever heard. Yet, there is a story in the Bible, with a talking donkey that captivates me every time I read it. This one, although just as lovable as the one from the movie, is minus the wisecracking comments.
Does it surprise you that God could use a talking donkey to get someone’s attention? Several years ago when I stumbled on this nearly forgotten story in Numbers 22, I have to admit I laughed as I read the story.
A talking donkey? In the Bible?
Yes, and would you believe that there is a lesson in it that nearly everyone can relate to?
The story takes places a few years after the Israelites left Egypt by means of a parting Red Sea. The king of the neighboring country, Moab, noticed how powerful the Israelites had become. This king knew that sheer man power alone was not enough to defeat them. So, instead of calling his military advisor, he called Balaam, a sorcerer. He knew something supernatural was the only way he stood a chance of being victorious over the Israelites.
Balaam agreed and was preparing for the journey. The night before he was to leave, however, God told him not to put a curse on the Israelites because they were blessed. In the end, God allowed Balaam to continue on the journey but only under the conditions that he did as God said.
On his way, apparently his motives changed because God was no longer happy with Balaam. On the journey, an angel blocks the donkey’s path. Balaam does not see the angel and beats the donkey for stopping. Twice more, the donkey sees an angel trying to prevent the journey. Unfortunately, Balaam’s heart was so hard by this point, God needed to use a donkey to deliver His message.
Infuriated by his donkey’s disregard for his mission, Balaam again beats the donkey. Now, here is where the story gets really good. Look what the Bible says happened:
“Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’” Numbers 22:28
The donkey talked!
As you read this story, you can’t help but wonder what the look on Balaam’s face must have been. Shock? Fear? Amusement?
The next verse shows us what he did:
“Balaam answered the donkey, ‘You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.’ Numbers 22:29
In fact, Balaam is so concerned about his own pride, he didn’t even notice the talking donkey! Instead, he argued with him. God was using this animal to protect Balaam from harm. Instead of recognizing this fact, Balaam is furious and threatens the donkey’s life.
Many times pride and a hard heart make us deaf to any message but our own agenda.
When was the last time you were so caught up in your own pride that you didn’t notice God was trying to speak to you?
I like to think in my own life, I don’t miss God, but I do. Some days I get so caught up in housework or other “Mommy jobs” that I fail to notice my boys for the blessings they are. Instead, I see a pile of toys and crumbs that looks like extra work. I see stained clothes that most certainly will require a soaking and scrubbing to look new again.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the mechanics of being a Mom, that I miss the path that God has clearly set before me: to raise men of God.
While the story of Balaam and his donkey have some rather comical aspects to it, it also communicates a message that I need every day: God loves me enough to go to extraordinary lengths to reach me. He doesn’t always do things in the conventional methods I’ve come to expect.
No matter how hard life gets, we need to be watchful of the circumstances God places in our life to remind us of His love and protection of us. Even if they are a little peculiar at first glance.
In the end, I have to admit, if one day my heart looses the sensitivity that God wants it to have and a donkey rings the doorbell, I will listen to every word he says!
Question To Ponder:
What are the "talking donkeys" in your life?
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"Donkey" picture courtesy of www.kids.aol.co.uk
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