The Wizard, The King and DONKEY!?
Posted on June 18, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.” Numbers 22:34 (NLT)
It’s kinda funny how a donkey can display a better sense of spiritual awareness of God than the person riding it but it happened. Anytime we need to reinforce this verse, “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” (1 Cor 1:27), all we need to do is head on back into the Old Testament and refer folks to the Book of Numbers, chapter 22.
So, there’s this king of Moab, Balak, who is watching as the Nation of Israel is marching through the plains of his country and he gets a bit nervous. Why? Well, he’s heard some stories, sees that he is basically outnumbered and decides he’ll need to cheat to win. He’ll send messenger’s out to contact a wizard named Balaam. Balaam is kind of a complex guy. With seemingly one foot in Moab and one foot in Israel, Balaam will have his special soothsayin’ tested by none other than The Angel of the LORD. Oh, I forgot to mention that Balaam was given a pretty clear directive, “Do not go with them,” God told Balaam. “you are not to curse these people, for I have blessed them!” (Num 22:12) Did he listen? Sorta, things will change by verse 20.
I think one of the bad things that drives what Balaam is about is money. Balak was willing to pay someone else to commit an evil he wanted to see done but couldn’t do himself. Balaam apparently is that guy even if he insists on listening to God and saying only what the Lord will allow him to say. If there was ever a moment to say “He’s double-minded” now’s the time to say it. Balaam’s bottom line is this, he knows how to play people, play the system, be all things to all people, look powerful in everyone’s eyes BUT it’s all about the Benjamin’s baby! (oops, had a rap music moment, I meant money) Anyway…
With all this swagger about him, Balaam will saddle up his donkey and head out with the Moabite officials to go to the deal. “BUT GOD was furious that Balaam was going, so He sent the Angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way.” (Num 22:22) Three times Balaam would try to get control, but the more he tried the worse it got until he finally lost it. DONKEY!!…and then came a beating. “Then the LORD caused the donkey to speak.” (Num 22:28a) Now, why doesn’t Balaam jump outta his saddle when the donkey started to speak? Better yet, why doesn’t Balaam see the Angel of the Lord blocking the roadway with a sword in His hand?
Well to answer the first, I’ll go with Balaam is a “wizard” so seeing and hearing weird stuff is part of the job but with the second I’m going with spiritual blindness, something DONKEY!! didn’t have. Would you agree with me today that God used a lowly creature to possibly save Balaam’s life? Next question, has God ever used something lowly to save yours? Hmm…
Many of us wake up, get coffee, have that 30-minute devotional time, saddle up our donkey and just head off without really hearing what God has said to us. Balaam was clearly told the first time, “Don’t do this” but when he was approached by the Moabite officials the second time (read Numbers 22), Balaam will let the sin that was gonna easily ensnare him stay the night. For all his soothsayin’, Balaam couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Why? Well, wealth and power can do that to a person I suppose.
I know we’ve heard different sermons on Balaam’s donkey but what I see in it kinda like a Damascus Road experience for Balaam. He’ll realize that God can’t be manipulated to curse the very things He blesses. May we see that as well. As we pray for change let’s remember that punishment and cursing needs to take a back seat to what God actually wants to hear us request.
We can’t live in two worlds either, that’s willfully being blind to God’s will. We can’t be riding our DONKEY thinking to ourselves “How Great I Art” all the while missing the obvious truths of the Gospel as we try to be a light in a dark world. Eventually, we’re all gonna admit, “I am powerless to do anything against the will of the LORD.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at email@example.com
Think About This: “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” — Aiden Wilson Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil [i]treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. –Luke 6:45
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.