|Used with permission by Microsoft|
God had already told Balaam that he should not go to Balak to curse Israel (Numbers 22: 12). Balaam responded properly at first. But Balak’s messengers persist. The enemy does not always take our first refusal as final. Balaam continues to ask the Lord if he should go with Balak. The Lord finally agrees (v.20). Just because God permits us to do something does not mean He sanctions it. Sometimes God says, “if you want to make a fool of yourself, go ahead.”
Balaam was permitted to go but the Lord showed his displeasure by sending an angel to block his way. Though Balaam could not see the angel, his donkey could. Ambition and greed always blind us to spiritual realities. The great seer of God could not see what a donkey could. The donkey resists going past the sword-wielding angel, which only makes Balaam angry. Often our hindrances are God’s way of protecting us. Anger because of these difficulties is a sure sign of pride and independence. How interesting that a man like Balaam who had boasted that he was a man whose eyes had been opened, was spoken to by an animal notorious for its stupidity. God delights in using the foolish things to confound the wise (I Corinthians 1:27).
What might be the object lesson we can learn from this story? The Lord can send forth His message through whatever type of messenger He chooses. Arrogance always diminishes our spiritual perception. If God tries to speak to us through someone who may seem ill prepared or uneducated, take note, He may be trying to teach us through an ass.
Image used with permission by Microsoft