May 18, 2023

Hello Advent Family,

Have you ever been in a situation where you learned an important lesson from a surprising source?  Perhaps someone who you should be teaching ends up teaching you.  We have probably all experienced this at some point in our lives but perhaps none more surprising then the story we find in Numbers 22.  Let’s look at it together today. 

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” 29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” ”No,” he said. 31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. 32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”

Balaam has been asked to go and place a curse on the people of Israel and obviously God does not want him to do this.  God uses a donkey to teach Balaam an important lesson.  Balaam has impure motives and seeks after the riches and glory that would come with the job he has been asked to do.  He is blinded by this and cannot see the danger as the Angel of the Lord is in front of him.  God humbles him by allowing the donkey not only to see this but then to speak and win an argument with him.  Balaam ends up being taught by his donkey (insert joke here).  There are some obvious takeaways for us today.  First we can learn from anyone and everyone.  I often find that children can be great teachers and reminders of some of the great truths of God.  The second thing is that if God can use a donkey to deliver His message He can certainly use all of us.  We all need to be willing to deliver the messages that God gives us and puts on our heart.  If we don’t he may use some jackass to do it (I couldn’t resist).

In His Grip,
Pastor Dave