While the Bible is God’s manual for life and ministry, God inserts some humor in the process of laying out truth for us to follow. One example of this is found in the Old Testament regarding a character named Balaam, a sorcerer, who was called upon by a king to place a curse on the people of Israel for a rich reward. However, God allowed him to do so—if he would say only what God directed him to say, a blessing instead of a curse. So, Balaam went on his way, but God was not pleased because He could see the greedy motive of Balaam’s heart. Though he was following God’s direction, he was doing it for the wrong reason. This is where the humor comes into play. He was blind to an angel, whom God had sent to block his way—but the donkey he was riding was not. As his normally reliable beast of burden tried to turn him aside despite repeated beatings, finally God resorted to actually speaking to Balaam through the mouth of the donkey. That’s right. God worked through a talking jackass to get Balaam’s attention. Only then did the sorcerer get the message! Our character had been a jackass in his own way in his insistence on doing his own thing instead of submitting to God’s direction.
So, what can we learn from this?
- When God gives direction, follow it in both in action and motive; mere actions are not enough.
- Do not allow insistence on our own will to take precedence over submission to God’s.
- Be attuned to God’s efforts to redirect our ways, so that He does not have to resort to donkeys to get our attention. We don’t want to be remembered in the same way as Balaam.