Braying for Blessings
(Numbers 22-24 and 33)
Balaam and His Donkey
God never ceases to astonish me with the many creative ways He chooses to reveal Himself to man. The Lord is surely able to speak to (and through) anyone He selects.
A Journey’s Journal
Today’s Bible reading begins with Moses’ brief synopsis of the travels of the people of Israel in the wilderness, from Egypt. Although the account is brief, skimming over forty years of geographical and spiritual wandering, it presents an opportune time for self evaluation.
Personally, I wonder if I take stock of my own walk with God often enough. Marking milestones and measuring progress is important. How regularly do I evaluate my own physical, emotional, academic, professional, relational and spiritual condition? First and foremost, what is the condition of my heart?
“Search me, O God,
and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts.”
(Psalm 139:23, KJV)
Journaling can be an excellent gauge of where I have come from, as well as where I am headed, in my walk with the Lord. Have you found this to be true for you as well?
Balaam and the Angel
by Gustav Jaeger
Look Who’s Talking
The bulk of today’s Bible reading is about the Balaam the sorcerer, his donkey and the Moabite King Balak. Fearing the arrival of the multitudinous Hebrew people in his land, King Balak ordered Balaam, a pagan diviner, to place a curse upon them. King Balak took Balaam to the high places of the false god Baal, overlooking the camps of the Israelites.
But God prevented Balaam from cursing His people. King Balak was insistent, and he even offered Balaam great riches for granting his request. Balaam saddled his donkey and headed off with the Moabite leaders.
The angel of the Lord blocked Balaam’s path, causing his donkey to halt in the road. Balaam beat his donkey, spurring him onward, and the donkey headed out in to a field.
God’s angel hemmed Balaam’s donkey in between two vineyard walls, making the pathway increasingly narrow. Finally, Balaam and his donkey were trapped. In this tight spot, the Lord spoke through the beast.
“Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak.
‘What have I done to you
that deserves your beating me three times?’
it asked Balaam.
‘“You have made me look like a fool!’
‘If I had a sword with me, I would kill you!’
“’But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,’
the donkey answered.
‘Have I ever done anything like this before?’
“’No,’ Balaam admitted.
“Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes,
and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway
with a drawn sword in his hand.
Balaam bowed his head
and fell face down on the ground before him.”
Apparently, Balaam got the message. Certainly, the Lord met him where he was. Balaam had been acting like a donkey (for lack of a better word), so the Lord spoke to him in terms he could understand.
Instead of cursing God’s people, Balaam blessed Israel three times with extreme eloquence. The Lord even delivered a Messianic prophecy through the pagan sorcerer, pointing to the coming of the Savior (see Numbers 24:15-19). Once Balaam was listening to the Lord, God was able to speak volumes to him and through him. He just had to pay attention and hear.
What a total turnaround.
Is the Lord speaking to you? What is He saying? Can you hear Him?
Will you pray with me?
How humbled we are to learn
That You can speak even to those who do not follow You.
You offer to speak to any who will listen.
Thank You for the many ways
You hem us in
Preventing us from taking the wrong path.
Teach us to listen
To Your direction.
Block our way,
When we stray from Your route.
Give us insights
Into the invisible,
So we may catch a glimpse
Of You and Your mighty forces,
Guiding us daily.
Unblock our ears,
That we may hear You.
Open our mouths
That we may speak Your truth.