In the O.T. book of Exodus chapter three, Moses protested when God told him what He wanted him to say to Pharoah. Moses came back with, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I’ve never been, and I’m not now, I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” God came back saying, “Who has made man’s mouth?” Later, on another occasion, we read in the book of Numbers chapter 22-24, about the enemies of Israel who offered a large amount of riches to Balaam, and in its simplest form, the story becomes most funny. Balaam, a soothsayer, was offered great riches by Balak if he would go and pronounce a curse upon Israel. However, God listening in on the conversation had much different ideas for Balaam, and he told him not to curse Israel, but instead to say only what He, God, told him to say. Four separate times Balaam, rather than cursing Israel, pronounces a prophetic blessing instead, and King Balak was furious with him.
With just this bit of information about Balaam one might think he was a pretty good guy. Especially when one considers the king promised him a great amount of money if he would pronounce a curse on Israel. Good guy? Peter didn’t seem to think so as we read in 2 Peter 2:15. Neither did Jude, for we read his words in Jude 11; and then we find the words of Jesus in Revelation 2:14. All three speaking of Balaam. This, when we read that Balaam only spoke a blessing rather than a curse. So, what was going on with him?
We read on in Numbers to find that Balaam set out on his donkey, heading off to do his evil deed. However, God was less than happy and in Numbers 22:22, we see that “God was angry that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way.” Balaam’s donkey saw the angel standing in the road “with a drawn sword in his hand” and he “bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat it and turned it back onto the road.” This took place again and when the donkey “saw the angel of the Lord, it tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So, Balaam beat the donkey again.” Then when the donkey saw the angel a third time, the donkey “laid down under Balaam.” After beating the donkey again, the “Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. What have I done to you that deserves you beating me three times? It asked Ballam. You have made me look like a fool!” Balaam shouted. If I had a sword with me, I would kill you! But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life, the donkey answered. Finally, Balaam sees the angel himself and understands that God is angry with him, and “to go…but say only what I tell you to say.”
Today I read a real-life-story of a Balaam and donkey! The site “Israel Today” reported that today a representative from Washington made his first trip to the Middle East, landing at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. As he stood with Israeli President Herzog he referenced “the Jews about their Biblical roots in this land.” He then, according to the article, “shed tears over the Shoah, and emphasized that Israel will always be able to rely for her security on the United States of America.” Later before departing he said, “I am a Zionist!”
Is it just me, or do you see a similar comparison between the ‘visitor from the U.S.’ to Israel, and Balaam who was told to “pronounce a curse upon Israel?” Whether the “visitor” intended on saying what he did, like in Balaam’s story, verse 38 tells us the words that came from his mouth were words such as, “But now I come, but have no power to say whatever I want. I will speak only the message that God puts in my mouth!” God told Balaam, even though he had hoped he could read and say off script, and perhaps like the “visitor,” God is the One who can make us say what He wants! Just sayin’!
Blessings, Psalm 20:7 Dale & Jeannie