March 24, 2013 – Scolded By An Ass
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Am I not your own ass, which you have always ridden, to this day?” 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. Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me.” Numbers 22:21, 28-34
Balaam was valuing the praise of men over honoring God. His heart was embedded with pride, and in his greed he devised a plan to be honored and enriched with wealth. He was chasing his own selfish plan for gain, and failed to follow through what God had clearly instructed him to say to the princes. Tragically, Balaam quit paying attention to the voice of God and was on a path headed for destruction.
God resorted to using a talking ass to keep Balaam from making a foolish decision. The ass’s mouth was opened, and he spoke God’s truth to Balaam. The scolding got Balaam’s attention, brought him to his senses, and was his life-correcting moment. Oddly enough, the ass kept Balaam from being one himself and ultimately saved his life.
We can all be a Balaam sometimes. We can get overconfident in our minds and pursue what we think will bring notoriety and satisfaction but only delivers heartache. God may choose to let us run in circles awhile, or He may intrude to get our attention. My encouragement is to stay humble and attentive to the voice of God.
We may be called upon to be an ass. As a mouthpiece of God, we may need to warn others and help them avert trouble. Difficult times often accompany those who speak up for truth, but in the end, it’s worth it.
God, If I get off course or quit paying attention, I give You permission to speak to me however You see best. Use me for Your glory. AMEN