Taking Direction from Donkeys

“The angel of the Lord asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.’” 

– Numbers 22:32,33

Do you have donkeys in your life? Before you take offense at that question, let me tell you about the story that prompts me to ask. There’s an account in the book of Numbers of a sorcerer named Balaam, who was called upon by the Moabite King Balak, to put a spell on the Israelites since they were many in number and were about to overtake the Moabite’s land. Long story short, Balaam consulted the God of Heaven asking for permission to put a spell on the Jews, and naturally, the Lord said “no.” However, unwilling to give up the great wealth he might gain from Balak, Balaam asked a second time and heard the same answer. Nevertheless, he set out for Moab, but unbeknownst to him, God dispatched an angel to stand in the road with a huge sword, perhaps to cut him down for his refusal to obey the first time. Balaam could not see this huge heavenly figure on the path, but thankfully, his trusty donkey could. Without warning, the donkey stopped and ran off the road. This happened several times, and each time, Balaam beat the poor animal. Finally, God gave the donkey a voice to speak to his companion about what he was seeing, and the animal ended up saving his life! 

Friend, it’s important to remember that the “donkeys” God puts in your life are there for a reason. Though you don’t always want to hear what they have to say and can easily disregard them for their familiarity, it’s critical to heed the messages they communicate. The ones who travel the road of life with you day in and day out are often best suited to speak into your attitudes and behaviors. Even though their voices can be grating, they may have the deepest insights and you might need them to keep your life on the right course. I believe this is why Jesus surrounded Himself with a group of 12 disciples who were not afraid to ask Him questions and give Him feedback. If the Lord Himself needed friendship and encouragement from those in His inner circle, how much more do you and I?


Jesus, help me to heed the voices of the “donkeys” in my life, even when I don’t want to hear what they have to say.


Who are the “donkeys” in your life?

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