Remember when Mr. BibleHead told you that there were some truly amazing stories in the Bible? Well, this is one of them....and it’s about me! My name is Jack (the Bible doesn’t tell you my name) and I’m Balaam’s donkey. I’m giving Mr. BibleHead a break today and I’m going to tell this story because I was there!
One day Balak, the king of Moab, was looking out his palace window an he saw a mob of Israelites camped out on the other side of the Jordan River. King Balak was terrified! He knew how the Israelites had destroyed anyone that stood between them and the promised land. ( We know that it was actually God that did it.) King Balak knew about a man named Balaam who said he was able to bless people and curse people.
King Balak called in his messengers and sent them on their way with money to pay Balaam, to deliver his message and bring him back with them. When the messengers arrived at Balaam’s house, they explained how King Balak needed Balaam to curse the Israelites and that he would pay him a lot of money to do so. Balaam had to make it look good, so he said, “Let me pray about it and I’ll let you know in the morning.”
That night, God showed up to Balaam. I bet he was surprised! God told Balaam not to go with these men because He had chosen the Israelites as His people and He had blessed them.. The next morning Balaam was still in shock that God actually spoke to him. He told the messengers that he could not curse the Israelites. So the messengers returned to King Balak.
When the king heard what Balaam had said, he was mad. He hand picked a bunch of his officials to go back to Balaam and try again. When the officials made it to Balaam’s house, they told him what King Balak had said. Balaam replied, “Even if the king gave me his palace filled with silver, I could not curse a people that God has blessed. But I will pray again tonight and see what God says.”
That night, God spoke to Balaam again. This time God told him he could go with the men. God told Balaam to do only what He directed him to do. In the morning Balaam told the men that he was going with them. I’m sure Balaam thought in his mind, “Woo Hoo! I’m going to be rich!”
This is where I come into the story. Balaam put a blanket on my back, climbed on and away we went. I could hear Balaam whistling a happy tune as we went along the road to Moab. Suddenly there was someting in the middle of the road. I knew that we couldn’t keep going, so I bolted off the road and into a field. Balaam was not too happy with me. Couldn’t he see what was standing in the road? I guess not because he grabbed a branch and beat me. Then he tugged me back on the road. We went along a little farther and there it was again! Right as the road narrowed and there were walls on both sides! We would both be dead if we kept going straight, so I tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot between my side and the wall. He was furious and began to beat me again. Finally we got on the road again. The road kept getting narrower and narrower. I hoped that I would not see it again, but just as I was thinking that to myself, There it was again! I had no where to run or to squeeze by so I just laid down.
Then God did two amazing things. First, he caused me to speak. Yep that’s right, I spoke to Balaam and I let him have an earful! “Haven’t I been faithful to you all these years? Haven’t I always done as you asked and wasn’t I always ready whenever you needed to go somewhere? Do you think that I would embarrass you on purpose without reason? Have I ever done anything like this before?”
“No.” Said Balaam. (He answered him! I would have been like....wow! a talking donkey!)
Then God did the second amazing thing. He opened Balaam’s eyes so that he could see what I saw. It was an angel of God standing in the road wielding a large sword!
Then the angel spoke. “Why did you beat your donkey three times? He saved your life! I would have killed you if you would have continued on your way.”
“No, go with these men, but change your attitude and your heart. You are going with these men to do as God says, not to make a lot of money.” The angel said and then he disappeared.
King Balak was very excited when he heard that Balaam was almost there.
Even when we do the right thing, if we are doing it out of selfishness or greed or pride, then it is the wrong thing. Balaam was doing what God said, but he was doing it for himself. That’s not good.
Do you know what “motives” are. Motives are the reason in our heart that we do things. God want’s our motives to be pure. When we help someone, or volunteer, or give away something, we do it because we love God. That’s a pure motive. (Proverbs 16:2 and 21:18)