I am not going to rehash the movie Shrek, however, I do wonder if this is where the idea of a talking donkey came from!
It is true. A donkey spoke. Read it with me:
“Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have stuck me these three times?” Numbers 22:28
Wait. . . What?!
If you are unfamiliar with the context of this passage, let me give you a brief summary: The Israelites are still in the desert after Moses has led them out of slavery in Egypt. Though simple in appearance, they are feared by every people group they come upon because word has spread that their God does the impossible. When they near the Moabites, Balak, their king, grows anxious and orders the elders of his group and a neighboring group to go with cash to a man named Balaam who they believe has the power to bless and curse. Balaam is enticed by the monetary gain of this request and is equally convinced that he has the power to bless and curse whomever he chooses.
The LORD uses Balaam, but needs to do some quick work to get his attention and put him in his place.
And Balaam’s donkey becomes a key character. On his way to meet with Balak, this donkey (that has been Balaam’s trusted ride for years) incurs three separate blows from Balaam’s staff.
Strike 1: The donkey leaves the road and goes into the field. Balaam probably thinks to himself: “What is this donkey doing?” And then, whack. “Get back on the road,” he probably says in a frustrated tone.
Strike 2: Not long after this first strange behavior, the donkey pushes against a wall and consequently impacts Balaam’s foot which gets pressed against the wall. Balaam probably thinks to himself: “What is up with this girl today? She has never acted like this before.” Whack. “Come on. What is wrong with you? Walk straight,” he probably shouts.
Strike 3: The donkey lays down in an area where she cannot veer right or left. And Balaam looses it. I imagine he raises his staff high and gives the donkey a serious WHACK.
Numbers 22:28-30, ESV
“And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me (*Note: Balaam was traveling with two of his servants). I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”
And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?”
And he (Balaam) said, “No.”
STAY WITH ME! DON’T MISS THIS PART:
“Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” (Numbers 22:31-33, ESV).
Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back. And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak (Numbers 22:34-35, ESV).
Balaam, after this encounter did go on to Moab and God filled his mouth with the words that He needed Balak to hear: My blessing is upon the Israelites.
And if you are a daughter of the King, His blessing is upon you too! He knows what obstacles are out there and which ones need His direct intervention on your behalf. His angel army is real and you can rest assured that even if we don’t see them, they are sent to guard and protect us.
The donkey spoke. And an army angel was seen. Amazing.