DO DONKEYS STILL SPEAK?


     
26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?"
     
29 Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now."
     
30 The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?"
     "No," he said. 
     
31 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”.  Numbers 22:26-31 (NIV)

 

 I first heard the account of the donkey speaking to Balaam when I was young lad.  Not for one moment did I doubt its validity as my best childhood friend, Brownie, a mixed breed dog, listened as I read th passage to him.  He was very attentive (especially when treats were eminent) and even though he never verbally responded, he frequently indicated agreement with me by nodding his shaggy head.

 

          As I matured I began to question the validity of a talking donkey but an experience as a young infantryman in Korea reaffirmed my childhood belief.   Our company was in a front line position and I was the forward guard manning a Browning automatic rifle reportedly with the ability of spewing forth 760 rounds per minute. A sliver of the moon, cast a shadowy glow to the area for which I was responsible, occasionally hidden by clouds accentuating the darkness of the night.  Abruptly, I detected a figure emerging near my position.  I shouted the password of the day and was only greeted by a garbled response.  My finger tensed on the trigger and I was about to open fire!  Suddenly, I heard another voice (whether this was audible to others or I do not know); but I definitely heard it and obeyed its command was not to shoot!

 

          I waited anxiously as the figure neared and I noted that he was struggling to maintain an upright position.  As he drew closer I was able to discern that he was an American G.I.!  I later discovered that he had been out on patrol and had been severely wounded and left for dead.  How grateful I was that I heeded that voice!  To this day I have never discovered whether he survived his ordeal or not but it did convince me that the Spirit does speaks!!

 

          However, at times I do wonder whether He is still attentive to my pleas, why does He seem to remain silent when I need answers?  Sometimes I audibly ask Him, “God, why don’t you speak to me and tell me what I should do?”  I don’t anticipate He will write His response in the sky or shout down a response from the heavens but even a message in a dream would be acceptable.  Unfortunately, often I am greeted with silence.  Where is that talking donkey?  Did he exist only in days of old?

 

          As I have matured spiritually, I have found that the Spirit speaks to us in a variety of ways but always the first step is our willingness to listen!   One source of receiving messages available to us is by sharing our concerns with fellow believers.  Although we may feel confident that no other human being has ever been besieged with our type of concern, however, by sharing it we will frequently find that our problem was not unique and a variety of possible solutions were available by listening to Him as He speaks through others.

 

          However, my most frequent source of guidance is through prayer.  As previously indicated at times the answer is not immediately forthcoming, in those times the Spirit simply provides comfort with an inner feeling of peace.  At those times the following verse resonates within me, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).  With such a promise how can I doubt that donkeys still speak but often my mulishness blocks out the message?