The Balaam saga continues today. After justifying his decision to go with
the messengers of the king of Moab, Balaam discovers that his lack of
integrity has a price—he loses his authority as a prophet, even over his own
donkey! What Balaam discovers, to his shame, is that his donkey is more
perceptive than he is. His donkey becomes disobedient because he can see
the angel of God (looking very threatening) where Balaam can see nothing.
But now Balaam is committed to his misguided course of action, and so,
instead of listening and learning, he simply beats his donkey. In the end,
though, through a very strange and surprising conversation with his animal,
Balaam sees the light. From the following verses we learn that Balaam
finally did get to the king of Moab, but when he tried to curse Israel, all that
came out of his mouth was blessing!
It’s amazing that God would be so committed to God’s people that God
would go to these lengths to ensure that they were blessed and not cursed.
But, of course, this is nothing compared with the incarnation—with God
becoming human, serving us, and liberating us in Jesus. The other
amazing truth that emerges from Balaam’s story is that God recruits people
like you and me (and even some donkeys at times!) to participate in serving
and liberating the world.
There is no better way to draw on God’s strength, presence, and inspiration
than the practice of praise. As we lose ourselves in wonder at God’s
goodness and love, we automatically find ourselves drawing strength from
this gracious God of ours. Try to remember to give praise at all times
I praise you, O God, for your presence, your strength, and your grace that
always sustain me.