Of all the amazing stories in the Bible, surely Numbers 22 recounts one of the funniest. I hope you’ll read the whole thing for yourself, but here is the gist: A prophet wasn’t doing things exactly the way the Lord wanted him to. Eventually, God got through to him by making his donkey talk. Amazing, yes, but perhaps even more astounding is the prophet’s response.
- Not, “Oh my goodness!”
- Not, “And when did you learn to talk?”
- But, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
Can you imagine?! As it turns out, the donkey actually saved his master’s life by keeping him out of harm’s way, harm in this case being an “angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn.”
This story raises many questions. First of all, are we, like Balaam the prophet, so quick to consider our own prideful interests that we sometimes cease to be amazed by God? Do we miss the “talking donkeys” in our own lives because we have simply stopped looking for them?
Secondly, are we careful enough when it comes to how we speak about God? Or do we at times presume to know his mind, small and limited humans that we are? Anytime these words are spoken I wonder if the angels cringe:
- “God always,”
- “God never,”
- “God has to,” or
- “God doesn’t do that anymore.”
God’s ways are so far above ours that we will never be able to fully understand or predict them. He is infinitely creative, making worthless our petty attempts to box him into our own expectations. Back in Numbers 22, God used a talking donkey to get Balaam’s attention. I’ve never heard of that happening again, but who’s to say it never will? We serve a mighty God. May we forever be amazed!