The story begins in Numbers 22. The more I read it, the funnier it gets. The more I read it, the more serious an indictment it becomes.

Balaam is a prophet for hire. Balak wants to pay him to curse Israel as they pass by Moab. Balaam realizes he won’t be able to and is honest about it. He still likes money and fame, so he makes an attempt. An angel of the Lord is ready to strike down Balaam. The donkey sees the angel and tries to save Balaam three times. Three times Balaam is furious and beats the donkey.

Finally, the donkey speaks.

Odd enough. But then Balaam talks to the donkey.

It’s funny and convicting all at the same time. Here is the “prophet” who can’t see what God is doing… and the donkey who can see what is happening. The donkey is given the ability to speak so the “prophet” can understand what is going on.

In today’s culturalized Christianity, we too often equate spiritual gifts with maturity or true spiritual power. We think of big ministries… or big givers… and we too often think we actually need to listen to them as some sort of spiritual giant when they just may be good marketers or good capitalists.

We have “prophets” strutting around spewing Christian Nationalism garbage, all the while blind to what God is really doing.

So, the next time you are tempted to think just because God used you in some spiritual gift and that might make you spiritually significant, remember Balaam’s story. And this about this (because I sure do): “If God can use Balaam’s donkey to speak, he can use any ass. Including ME.”

Story of Balaam - Prophet and Talking Donkey in the Bible?

One thought on “The oddities of the story of Balaam

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