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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Donkey Talk


When a donkey brays, people call him stubborn. But what do you call a donkey who speaks for God?


That’s what happened to Balaam on his way to see King Balak of Moab. The king knew that Balaam was a seer, one who consulted pagan gods to predict the future. King Balak offered Balaam a lucrative price if he would put a curse of Israel.


While Balaam told the king he would consult the Lord, he wasn’t praying for God’s will. He was simply treating Israel’s God on the same level as the pagan gods he consulted. But God shows up when anyone reaches out to Him. God told Balaam in a way Balaam understood that he was not to curse Israel. When Balak persisted, Balaam kept asking God and finally got permission from God to head toward the king. However, God also told Balaam “do only what I tell you.”


Balaam wasn’t fooling God. Balaam wanted the money, but he didn’t want to anger God. He tried to play both sides, which is never a good idea. With permission from God to head toward Moab, he saddled his donkey.


Three times God tried to stop him using an angel. But Balaam the Seer couldn’t see the angel. However, his donkey did. She brayed her stubborn bray and wouldn’t move until the angel disappeared. Well, this angered Balaam so he tried to beat the donkey into submission.


Finally, the donkey had enough and simply sat down. Beating or no beating; she wasn’t going to cross an angel!


That’s when God opened the donkey’s mouth. The donkey became God’s messenger and Balaam finally saw the angel and listened to his message. The angel called Balaam’s plan reckless, but He would give him another chance.


Hmm! Donkey talk made Balaam see. While he wouldn’t curse Israel to comply with God’s instruction, he did tell Balak how to weaken Israel. He suggested a “let’s all just get along” campaign and connect the two countries through intermarriage and shared religion. It did weaken Israel and Balaam was to blame.


So what are we suppose to learn from this crazy story? If a donkey could talk what would he say?

  • God will protect His investment at all costs.

That’s what the cross was all about. Donkey talk is nothing compared to the lengths God will go. No one stops God.

  • Don’t twist God’s instructions to get what you want.

While we can give Balaam credit for consulting God, understanding his instructions, and refusing to curse Israel, the Bible clearly exposes Balaam’s self-centered motive.


Jude 11 warns Christians against following Balaam’s “error” placing profit over obedience to God. Even John rebuked Balaam’s “teaching” in Revelation 2:14 because Balaam was responsible for a mixed religion in the name of unity and tolerance.


This crazy donkey talk story is a warning. Don’t mess with God’s plan or his instructions. Not from His written word or from warnings He sends when we are headed in the wrong direction. Whatever blessing we want will become our curse without complete obedience.


Besides, if God can use a donkey in Balaam’s life, what is He using in your life to help you see His will clearly?


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