A Devotional

Will He Make Our Donkeys Speak?

How often on life’s journey do we try to force our own way

without consulting God, and then wonder why it is a difficult

road? Surely, all of us can say we have had such experiences.

In the Book of Numbers, we can read about the Israelites

arriving on the plains of Moab and King Balak, who grew so

concerned about their arrival and the threat they

posed summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to help him because he

knew that His God answered his requests for blessings and

curses. At first, Balaam does not go, because the Lord tells him

not to, but eventually he relents and goes with God’s

permission. However, his donkey keeps wandering off the path

he is trying to follow, and three times he beats his donkey try-

ing to follow this certain path.

Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to

Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me

these three times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have

made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill

you right now!”

But the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not the donkey you

have ridden all your life until today? Have I ever treated you

this way before?”

“No,” he replied. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and

he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a

drawn sword in his hand. And Balaam bowed low and fell

facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you

beaten your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out

to oppose you, because your way is perverse before me. The

donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If

she had not turned away, then by now I would surely have

killed you and let her live.”

“I have sinned,” Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “for I

did not realize that you were standing in the road to confront

me. And now, if this is displeasing in your sight, I will go back

home.” (Numbers 22:28-34) But the Angel of the Lord di-

rected Balaam to continue, but to only speak and do what the

Lord commanded. King Balak, three times, requests that Ba-

laam curse the Israelite nation and three times in three separate

locations around Moab, Balaam has sacrifices made to God

and then, speaking God’s words, blesses them. King Balak

eventually gives up and receives a prediction of destruction.

What does it take to get our attention when we are set on a

course that is of our own making and not part of God’s plan for

us? When we are beating our metaphorical donkeys and have

not spoken to God enough about our choices, will He open our

eyes? Will He cause our donkeys to speak? Certainly, Balaam

listened, “Did I not tell you that whatever the Lord says, I must

do?” (Numbers 23:26) We cannot move forward successfully

if we are not guided by the Lord God. “For now we see in a

mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I

shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12