Do I really want to say “Ass” whenever I am talking about the donkey in Numbers 22? Yes. Because I am very immature. But I will resist. The story of Balaam and his donkey is just so interesting and I would hate a bunch of asses getting in the way.
If this post is going to make any sense, you really should read Numbers 22. I trust that you did. Do not break my trust.
My wife and I ran around in circles trying to figure out what was going on in this story. We probably would have had more luck if we hadn’t put our heads down on that baseball bat. But when the pretty birdies stopped flittering around us, we got back to work.
I have a theory about Balaam and his donkey. And it is loosely based on a section of the S.A.T.s.
God is to Balaam as
A) Balaam is to Balak
B) Israel is to the donkey
C) Balaam is to the donkey
D) The donkey is to Balak’s ass.
If you answered “C”, you were correct.
Take a look at some of the similarities:
- God’s anger is kindled at Balaam. Balaam’s anger is kindled at the donkey.
- The Angel of the LORD has a sword. Balaam wishes he had a sword.
- The Angel would have killed Balaam. Balaam would have killed the donkey.
While much of this is still confusing, there are some very interesting things about God here.
God speaks through foreigners. He has done it before and he is doing it again.
God also doesn’t need people to speak. He can do it through animals. That should probably be a warning to Balaam. “Dude, I don’t need you. Don’t think your status as a prophet makes you anything special. I will use your ass to speak if I have to!”
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
God deals with stuff on the way. Jacob, Moses, and now Balaam have all experienced encountering God on the way to somewhere. They were doing something God gave them permission to do and then encountered God on the road. The catch is, God always showed up as an adversary of some kind.
He almost chopped Balaam in half.
But in those encounters, Jacob received his blessing from God, the thing he had always wanted.
Moses was, well, I’m still not clear exactly on what happened to him.
Balaam learned in no uncertain terms who he was speaking for.
So the next time you feel like God gives you permission or an invitation to do something and then seems to get in your way, think about Jacob and Moses and Balaam and how God might be up to something more than you realize.
And pay attention to your ass.