The first time that I ever heard about Balaam and his donkey, I was a little kid. The thing that made me remember this story over the years was the fact that God opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey so the donkey could speak to him. When you’re a little kid, at least this little kid, you always imagine how wonderful it would be if animals could actually talk to you. I tried to regularly watch an old show that was called Mr. Ed. A man named Wilbur had a beautiful palomino horse that would only talk to him. I remember that the horse, Mr. Ed was always getting Wilbur in a lot of trouble. As I read our passage for today about Balaam and his donkey, something unsettling happened. As I was reading what the donkey was saying to Balaam, it was like I was hearing the donkey’s words being spoken by Eddie Murphy who is the voice of the donkey in the Shrek movies. I know that admitting that might make some of you wonder about me. But humor me for a moment. If you saw any of the Shrek movies, read these things that were said by Balaam’s donkey but in your mind imagine the Shrek donkey saying them.
- What have I done to make you beat me these 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?
The donkey makes a good point don’t you think? But enough of that. Let’s get to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us from this part of the Bible.
God’s plan was that His Chosen People would conquer and then subsequently occupy the Promised Land. This was the home that He had promised to Abraham that He would give it to the nation that would be made up of his descendents. Nothing was going to stop God’s plan. He had spoken it. He had promised it. He was prepared to do whatever it took to accomplish it. In the case of what we read today, God chose to use a pagan prophet to get the job done. The more time you spend studying about Balaam, the more you see he was no friend of God’s Chosen People. Yet God actually used Balaam to speak blessing over Israel. It is fascinating to watch God speak to this heathen man, this selfish man who was more concerned about himself than the one true God and use him to help accomplish God’s unstoppable plan.
This whole concept may seem a little out of the box. God using someone who doesn’t even serve Him to get things done doesn’t fit some people’s theology. But God is bigger than any of our preconceived notions.
I would encourage us to take two specific truths from this story:
- God can and will use anyone, even people who don’t believe in Him, to get done what he wants to get done. He doesn’t have to ask us first if it’s okay. God can use any situation, any circumstance, anybody, any custom, any culture, God can use anything and will use whatever it takes to see that what He said would happen and what He wants to happen will happen.
- If God is willing to use a selfish pagan to play a part in accomplishing His plan, how much more does He want to include us in carrying out His will in the world? Most of us have blown it multiple times in our lives. But that doesn’t disqualify us from being an instrument in His hands that He can use to fulfill His plan for people, nations, the world. If God can use an ordinary donkey to see that His will is carried out, if God can put words in the mouth of an animal, be assured how much more will He fill our mouths with His words that He wants us to speak into situations, circumstances, and the lives of people that Jesus died to save.
Why don’t you take some time today to thank God for allowing you to be a part of what He wants to accomplish in your neighborhood, your church, your community, your nation, and His world. I’ll see you in the Word