Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” (Numbers 22:28 NIV)
This is one of the stories I remember from children’s Sunday school, many years ago: Balaam and his talking donkey. And I still find it amusing when I read it. Especially as Balaam carries on a conversation with this donkey as if it was a normal part of his day.
But there is more to this account than just a talking donkey. Balaam had embarked on a dangerous journey. He had been hired to curse God’s people. Even though it appears God has told him he could go, the journey’s purpose was displeasing to God, so he warned the prophet. Using the prophet’s own donkey.
But does this account have any applicability to me today? I cannot imagine that I will ever curse God’s people. And I certainly don’t have a donkey. But I have been known to act contrary to God’s will.
Most often, his word serves as a warning to me. But at other times, he uses other methods. Sometimes it is by what another person says or does. But occasionally, some circumstance that comes my way will take the place of the talking donkey. But whatever the method of warning, it is important to pay heed to it. In the end, Balaam did not, and it cost him his life (Num. 31:8, 16).