"Nobody's going to tell me what to do!" We all feel that way at one time or another. Something rises up inside us to proclaim our independence. "I don't have to stand for this!" That was my thinking awhile back when the church we attended changed pastors. Unlike the popular cry today - change! - I don't like change. But change I had. The new pastor's preaching style was certainly not to my liking. So, doing what comes natural, I soon voiced my dissatisfaction to a friend. And in that moment I learned an important lesson.
Just as I was expressing my negative thoughts, in my spirit, I was sure I heard God say to me, "I can even speak through a donkey. You're just supposed to listen." Needless to say, God got my attention that day. Not only did I listen more intently to my new minister from then on - I took notes! And I was surprised by the fact that I greatly benefited from that "donkey" (no disrespect intended) that God sent into my life.
I discovered that just like he did with Balaam in the Bible, God sends whatever or whomever he chooses into our life - to help us stay on the straight and narrow. In Balaam's case he sent a real donkey. With us it may be a "type of" whom we would do well to listen to.
Who is the "donkey" in your life" What is God trying to say to you? What change in direction is needed? What action needs to be stopped? What friendships need to be nullified? What sin needs to be confessed? What prompting is the Lord giving - that you are determined to ignore? Even though your "donkey" continues to make you uncomfortable as he or she nudges you toward going God's way. Perhaps, you have not, as I had not ever seriously considered the possible end results of choosing to ignore your "donkey" and continuing to disobey God.
The Bible is filled with accounts of people who disobeyed God's plan for them. Their bitter results are given for our counsel. Consider Achan. Nobody was going to make Achan leave all that gold behind (Numbers 23-23). And Jonah. He wasn't about to go preach to those terrible Ninevites - until after his visit with the inside of the great fish's belly (Jonah 1-4). Pharaoh. Now, there's a hard-head. He wasn't going to let Moses, or anyone else tell him what to do. His refusal to listen cost him some major discomforts, lice and frogs, to name only a couple (Exodus 11). Lots wife. She wouldn't listen. She looked back and turned to salt (Genesis 19:26). Jeroboam. The counsel of those old "donkeys" was not his style. He preferred getting his information from his smart young friends (1 Kings 12). King Saul. His "Donkey," Samuel, didn't understand him, and after all, he was king! (1 Samuel 13:13).
The list could go on. Perhaps you could even name a few in your own acquaintances. But the one God has given that stands out uniquely - the one referred to over and over in Scripture as a reminder to us - is Balaam (Numbers 22:21, 31:8), Perhaps, the reason is that Balaam had attitudes that we can all relate to.
#1, Balaam liked to feel important.
#2, Balaam liked to make his own decisions.
#3, Balaam liked money.
#4, Balaam liked having the final word.
Yet, imagine! If it had not been for Balaam's "donkey," the angel of the LORD would have killed him right there on the spot for his disobedience to God. Who is the "donkey" in your life? Who is it that God is using in your life to "stand in the gap" as Balaam's donkey did for him? Who's the one who is urging you to obey God - to go God's way?
In Proverbs we read a solemn warning: "Turn you at my reproof: behold I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you....Because I have called, and ye refused...ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity: I will mock when your fear cometh...But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil" (Proverbs 1:23, 25, 26, 33).
Let's purpose to listen! A "donkey just might be speaking to us! ęcopyright 2008 Arleita Harmon, www.menofagape.com
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