Riding along on his faithful donkey, Balaam was about to make a colossal mistake (Numbers 22). God intended to pronounce a blessing upon the people of Israel, but Balaam was heading down the trail, entertaining thoughts of cursing them for a bribe. And in his path stood the angel of God, sword drawn, ready to strike Balaam to the ground. It is a foolish, foolish mistake even to entertain the thought of cursing God’s children!
But, even in his sin, God was merciful to Balaam – allowing his donkey to spot the angel, maneuver Balaam past him two times, and keep him alive. But Balaam could see neither the angel, nor or the hand of God. He was angry. What was wrong with this wretched donkey that kept straying off the road? Why was it making such a fool of him? What an inconvenience!
Have you ever felt like that? When the car breaks down? When the fax-machine won’t work? When the email won’t go through? And do you ever consider that God might be protecting you from going down some road of sin?
Sometimes, when we are hell-bent on sin, God may throw a very frustrating, but very merciful curveball at us. That smart-aleck email won’t go through. Our car just won’t get us to that place we never should have gone in the first place.
Other times, we never know why God trips us up or interrupts our routine. Maybe that too-long phone conversation that causes you to run late was actually keeping you out of a car wreck! Do you ever stop to think of these kinds of things? God is merciful even when the donkey veers off track!
Well, Balaam wasn’t getting it. So finally, God opened the donkey’s mouth to illuminate things to poor, ignorant Balaam. And Balaam was in such a rage about being inconvenienced that he didn’t even notice how odd it was for his donkey to be speaking!
Do you ever get like that? So frustrated with God’s providential interruptions that you fail to hear what He is saying to you through them? What would our busted radiators and flat tires say if they could speak? What rebukes might our frozen computer screens offer if they could talk? What might that 10 minute long train say to us if God opened its mouth? Most of us never stop to listen.
If we did, we might just hear them say: “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”—even dead cell-phone batteries, cantankerous co-workers, long check-out lines, and rambunctious donkeys.
So, let’s let God be God. And let’s listen when our ‘disobedient’ donkeys speak! We just may hear a message of mercy!