If you need a life coach to help you with important decisions, Bob the Sheep will not be on your list of choices. If he is, you need something much more than a coach! I do not doubt that neither was a donkey on Balaam’s list. Let’s call Balaam’s donkey Sam for this message. Is that all right?
Could you imagine Balaam waking and saying to himself, “OK, I wonder what Sam is going to say to me today?” On his list or not, Balaam got good advice from Sam. In fact, Sam saved Balaam’s life, saw a powerful spiritual being, and got to speak his mind. Not a bad day’s work for a donkey, is it?
There is much that I find fascinating in today’s Scripture passage; I regret having to narrow it down to just one point. I wonder what kind of prophet Balaam was, why he thought he could curse Israel on behalf of their enemies, and how he could get away with it. There is more.
One thing that really stands out for me more than any other, spiritual truths aside, is that Balaam did not think it odd to have a conversation with a donkey! Have you thought about that? Do you find it odd as well?
OK, back to spiritual truths:
- Balaam was in intentional rebellion against God.
- He sought to personally gain from using God.
- He exalted his own ambition above God’s purpose.
This may not stand out as the number one error of Balaam at first glance; however, it is at the root of all: Balaam neither sought nor acted in wisdom. This is the bottom line.
If he had sought God’s wisdom and lived according to it, he would not be on his way to curse Israel, God would not have to intervene, and his decisions would not have to be reproved nor his life spared by a donkey.
Please do not get caught up in the details: Ultimately, it is not about Balaam’s foolish actions of rebellion and greed nor Sam (the donkey). It is about the consequences of not seeking and living according to God’s wisdom. And that is the life application for us from this account of Balaam’s folly.
Seek God’s wisdom. Ask for it. Listen for His communication. When you ask for God’s wisdom, He always answers that prayer–always. If you ask earnestly and sincerely seek wisdom, wisdom will find you. But you must ask.
I encourage you to read the book of Proverbs. Read the entire book. It has thirty-one chapters–perfect for taking one a day for a month. And when you finish the month, do it again! It has much to say about wisdom. And understand: This is no earth-shattering “new” or hidden truth. It may not even seem to be “all that.”
It IS the most important thing you can seek from God. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (NIV)
When God says wisdom is the most important thing, wisdom would say that you had better heed it. I say that it is better to gain wisdom by asking God than by getting a lesson from Bob.
When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat 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.” The donkey said to Balaam, “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?” “No,” he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. (Num 22:27-31 NIV)
— from Randall Vaughn, E-MIN Global Ministries