Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

The Holy Spirit – Day 5

God speaks through a Donkey?

Bible text(s)

15They have left the straight path and have lost their way; they have followed the path taken by Balaam son of Beor, who loved the money he would get for doing wrong 16and was rebuked for his sin. His donkey spoke with a human voice and stopped the prophet's insane action.

2 Peter 2:15-16GNBOpen in Bible reader

When we walk our dogs, we sometimes find ourselves in a distressing situation, as the one becomes very upset if we encounter another dog or dogs with their owners on their own walks. It is as though she takes exception to them walking on “her” road and she immediately pulls back and starts “speaking” to us in unintelligible, yet clearly complaining, self-righteous whines, forcing us to stop and speak soothingly to her, or turn her around and back track, in the hope that she will forget this perceived “affront”. Needless to say, its effect on our walk is disturbing and trying, much like Balaam experienced with his donkey on the road to Moab; the difference being that God spoke to him through his donkey to halt his misguided mission.

We have seen how the Spirit of God worked in David and Jehoshaphat, two kings, but to hear Him speaking through Balaam, a sorcerer, and through his donkey, a mute animal, is far more unexpected. It is the donkey that sees the angel of the LORD and refuses to move forward, the first time turning off into a field, the second time crushing Balaam’s foot against the wall, and the third time lying down, each time preventing Balaam from going forward. When he beats her for the third time, we read, “… the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me three times?’ … ‘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?’ … Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn” (Numbers 22:28,30-31). “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’ … ‘If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.’ Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, ‘I have sinned …’ ” (Numbers 22:32-34).

We realise that God is in no way limited when He wants to get His message across and speaks through the ungodly, through unusual circumstances, through creation, through His ministers and through the Bible. Balaam had been enticed by the handsome reward offered by Balak, the king of Moab, as payment for putting a curse on the Israelites. He believed in many gods, but he acknowledged that the LORD was indeed a powerful God. Although Balaam had been told by God not to go with the Moabite princes and not to curse the Israelites because they were blessed, he went with them, and it took this amazing incident with his donkey for him to end up doing as the LORD commanded. Later we are told: “When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him and he uttered … ‘May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed …’ ” (Numbers 24:2,9). What an awesome God!

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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