The Bible Speaks
“the donkey…said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Numbers 22:28
I am always amazed at what the Lord will use to get our attention and, how stubborn we can be when it comes to listening to Him. If we are students of Scripture we will know His will in most things but there are times He will use circumstances to direct us. This is especially true when we have failed to heed His plain directions in the Word of God. Balaam, whose story is told in Numbers 22-24, is a case in point.
The king of Moab had sent messengers to Balaam asking him to come with them and curse God’s people Israel. The Lord had spoken to Balaam right after they arrived and told him he should not go with them (22:12). Balaam
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told them he wouldn’t go but when a second delegation from Moab’s king arrived, with even more money, he decided he would go. He even prayed about it and felt He had the Lord’s permission! It is fascinating to me how many people pray and believe they have God’s permission for something that His word has already denied. The spirit of Balaam lives! This prophet had been told no but finagled a “yes” from God. But, that is not the end of the story.
Balaam mounted his faithful donkey and followed the men yet the Lord opposed His way. He sent an angel to stand in his path but the prophet didn’t see the angel, only the donkey did. Three times the angel appeared to obstruct his way and three times Balaam struck his donkey to press on. God was trying to get his attention; to call him back to His word, to the straight and narrow way. Balaam didn’t listen when God spoke and he didn’t heed the message when his donkey kept turning away. Balaam had need of a bigger attention getter and he got it when the donkey talked!
God directs us through the counsel of His word and the guidance of His Spirit that lives in everyone who is born again. Almost every decision in life can be answered by going to your Bible. The Bible clearly speaks to us today just as it did in the day it was written. Sometimes, however, we miss it and the Lord will then use circumstances to direct us. Circumstances are His “back up” method of guidance when we don’t know what the Scriptures say. God uses them to wake us up so that we will go back to our Bible and find His direction. When He orders events to get your attention, do you see it? Are you listening? Don’t wait for your donkey to talk. Go back to His Word and get it right to begin with. You will avoid much trouble and be glad you listened. Your donkey will thank you, too!
The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor of Turner’s Chapel.