Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel

Numbers 22:22-40

One of the joys of reading through scripture is finding stories that make you wonder how you would have responded in similar circumstances. Take the story of Balaam and his donkey.

Baalam was a prophet of the Lord who was called by the king Balak to curse the children of Israel. He was reluctant to go, but finally succumbed to the pressure, saddled up his donkey and, with two servants in tow, proceeded to go meet Balak. The Lord sent his angel to block Baalam’s path. Three times the Angel of the Lord blocked the donkey, and three times Baalam struck his donkey because it would not move. After the third time, the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth and she asked, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?And, so Baalam and the donkey proceeded to have a discussion, after which the Lord opened his eyes and he, too, saw the Angel of the Lord. Come to find out, the donkey, in its perceived belligerence, actually saved Baalam’s life in her refusal to pass by the Angel of the Lord.

So, let’s think about how we might have responded in similar circumstances. In the first place, I don’t have a donkey or servants, so I will imagine a basset hound and some grandkids. Now, unlike Balaam’s donkey, basset hounds frequently refuse to move, so it is not uncommon to have to drag them from place to place. Chances are, I would miss seeing the Angel of the Lord as surely as Balaam did.

But, here’s the part of the story that intrigues me. The donkey opened her mouth and spoke to Balaam. And, rather than marvel at the fact that his donkey was speaking, he carried on a conversation with her.

And nobody thought that was odd?

I’m thinking words coming out of the basset’s mouth would leave me speechless, not conversational.

Take aways from the story:
  1. If the Lord can use a donkey, he can use anybody.
  2. Listen to the donkeys in your life. They may see something you are missing.
  3. Don’t beat up on the ones who see something you missed.
  4. Use caution carrying on a conversation with your donkey (basset) in public. While it may be the Angel of the Lord, there are people who would call the mental health officers to come check on you in today’s world.
Lord, open my eyes to see those things I am missing. Amen

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