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Balaam once again struck the donkey. He gives Balaam permission to go, but only to say what he tells him to say. Still working on a plan B... Be In Us: an extrovert’s guide to Christmas invites, Follow Not That You Asked on WordPress.com. The Torah records how, after being thoroughly humiliated by his talking donkey, Balaam, the non-Jewish sorcerer and prophet commissioned by Balak King of Moab to curse the Jews, found himself incapable of cursing them. God tells Balaam not to go, before saying later that he may go. Balaam's loca… The "oracles" of Balaam in Numbers correspond to the blessings God promised to Abraham: Israel will be as numerous as the dust of the earth; the Lord is with Israel; Israel will inherit the promised land; Israel will crush Moab, and from the Jews will come a Messiah. He who blesses you will be blessed, and he who curses you will be cursed.” (Num 24:9), “I see him, yet not at this moment.

So, Balaam saddles up his donkey, and goes with the Moabite dignitaries, intent on cursing the Jews. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers, Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament. Balaam was looking for God’s permission, but God wants us to agree with and to join him in his will, not begrudging obedience. And here is where it gets confusing.

When we sin, it is not because we have “beaten” God, but rather because the Almighty allows us to sin. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The minutiae of the “go/don’t go” debate is laughable when we listen to God’s initial pronouncement. God’s promises to Abraham continued on, and cursing or blessing Israel will come back on the deliverer. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Four times? The donkey turned, drawing a beating from Balaam. As a seer, he should have been keenly aware that God was sending him a message.

Why is it relevant to us if Balaam’s an idiot? You can find threads of the gospel in secular writings such as Plato’s analogy of the cave.

It's an intense time we're living in. God then allows the donkey to act with more insight then Balaam. The parallels with Jacob’s own blessings to Judah are unmistakable. Then the angel appeared infront of them again, this time in a walled passage. But Balak really wanted Balaam to come, so he decided to send even more important messengers to hire the powerful magician. And this is the thing. Before we dive into the personhood of Balaam, we have to set up the historical context. The Donkey that took Jesus into Jerusalem: The donkey had never been ridden before. This story shows us that we have an alternative choice – we can be like Jesus and willingly choose the cross. Change ). Balaam’s Talking Donkey: What Did We Just Read? to start out of the way, or lie down with him, could anyone instance be given of it?

Balaam did, however, go with the second set of Balak's messengers after being warned by God to "only do what I tell you.". God in his love will not override our freedom, and will accommodate our bad choices. Greed, compromise, betrayal, and corruption. In fact it feels like it would better belong in an anthology of fairy tales. Fun-loving / adventure-seeking / Christian / extrovert.

It keeps veering off the path, so its owner keeps beating it. What is that?

Balaam is a well known diviner, and sorcery is forbidden by God. We might stress about decisions and discovering God’s will in certain situations, but often God has laid out his heart and his purposes already. Are my thoughts consistent with my actions?

He is not on God’s side.

That passage has remarkable hints of the gospel, but it was written by someone who never knew God. There is a dangerous angel in the road, but Balaam is oblivious to it.

Have we really paid attention to what he’s already said? ( Log Out /  This time, God tells Balaam that he “may go with them”, but that Balaam must do whatever God commands him to do (22:20). God bless. In each step, Balaam assumes he may escape from God, that God is not all powerful, and that eventually he may outsmart God, and successfully curse the Israelites. This angel had been sent by God in order to stop Balaam from cursing the people Israel. (r) Nat. When we read the story with this in mind, we can now understand each step. Does my obedience to God flow from my love for him and nothing else?

Jesus simply told them to take the donkey they … All rights reserved.

Although Balaam could not say anything without God’s permission, he figured out a way to curse Israel indirectly in Numbers 25. But in the very next chapter, he enacts a plan that wipes out 24,000 Israelites. Yesterday, in Orthodox shuls, we read the Parsha of Balak (Num. Balaam can’t see it but apparently his donkey can (Numbers 22:23). Each time the donkey turned away, Balaam beat the donkey to try to keep him moving forward. . ( Log Out /  Answer: In Revelation 2:14, the church of Pergamum is scolded for tolerating the “teaching of Balaam,” or the “doctrine of Balaam.” Balaam’s name is also invoked in 2 Peter 2:15 and Jude 1:11, both in warnings about the conduct and message of … Freedom is expensive, as any veteran can tell you. Do not curse them, for they are blessed!” (Numbers 22:12). He may believe he faces an uphill battle, but still thinks he can win. We are all like Balaam, heading away from the love of God and therefore blindly towards some sort of darkness. And this is where the story gets interesting. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Because I’m not sure I can get on board with the idea that a Donkey is able to outrun and outwit an angel with a flaming sword in his hand. Instead of allowing us all to continue blindly on our roads that lead away from the reality of God’s love, Jesus came and chose the cross. Sometimes we are responsible for the darkness we face, sometimes we are innocent victims. You are not even as smart as your donkey!” Balaam should have understood that he had not beaten God, but rather God has granted him the free will to continue on his way. God threatens to kill Balaam, but does not do so. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! And they all lived happily ever after (well, that’s not exactly accurate, but that’s beside the point for todays purposes). In order to get past the angel, the donkey scraped up against the wall, scraping Balaams foot in the process. God creates room for our choices, but he will not allow us to usurp his overarching purposes. He thinks he knows what might work… there’s a magic man called Balaam who is in touch with the gods… perhaps he could come and put a curse on the Israelites? 1. The third time the donkey saw the angel, she lay down under Balaam, who beat her severely with his staff. Sometimes it is a mixture of both. The cross shows us that God’s love for us is very real and is more powerful than any human failure. His inability to see the angel of the Lord revealed his spiritual blindness. Then, God opened Balaam’s eyes and he was able to see the angel with the flaming sword infront of them on the path. Moreover, he saw no significance in the donkey's odd behavior. They very politely request passage through sovereign territory from the Edomites and then the Amorites, but in both cases, they are refused, and then attacked. Later, the Jews warred against Midian, killing their five kings.

If the angel wanted to kill Balaam then surely he would have done so. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Aren’t diviners de facto in cahoots with the other side? Again he beat the donkey. Balaam’s desire to go and get the riches was accommodated, but ultimately the people of Israel were blessed, not cursed, just as God said in the first place. The king took Balaam to several mountains, ordering him to curse the Israelites on the plains below, but instead, the sorcerer gave four oracles, repeating God's covenant of blessing on the Hebrew people.

Sometimes we find ourselves experiencing it, sometimes we narrowly escape it. Unless you’re an avid reader of the Old Testament, the phrase ‘Balaam’s Donkey’ probably provokes one of two reactions: a) ‘What?’ or b) ‘Oh yeah, that weird story about a talking donkey – what’s that about?’. Through coaxing the Moabite women to sleep with the Israelite men, they began to lead Israel astray as they worshipped other gods (Numbers 25:2, Revelation 2:14). These are the 3 lessons from a donkey-riding prophet that caution us to be more like the donkey than the prophet!

Balaam’s donkey: This is the only animal that talked apart from the serpent in the Garden of Eden. There are amazing parts to the story too – Balaam ends up giving some seriously powerful prophecy. or rather, "ever since thou wast"; not ever since he was in being, but ever since he could ride, so Aben Ezra; according to which, it seems that this was the first he rode upon, and which he had always been used to; hence the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it,"upon which thou hast rode from thy youth unto this day;''and be it that Balaam was a man pretty well advanced in years, an ass is a creature that lives a long time: Pliny says (r) it lives thirty years; and an Arabic writer (s) makes mention of an ass that the owner of it rode on forty years: was I ever wont to do so unto thee?

The whole incident is highly irregular, which really should be a heads up for all concerned. Balaam was on his way to the people of Israel, riding his donkey when an angel, with a drawn sword in his hand stood in the middle of the road to bar his path. Balak promised to pay Balaam handsomely for bringing evil upon the Hebrews, whom he feared. Find out more about her here. God tells Balaam not to go, but also allows him the free will to make his own decision2. The Moabites, descendants of an incestuous offspring of Lot (Abraham’s nephew, Genesis 19:37) didn’t like that the Israelites were lurking a little too close to their lands during the Exodus. God sends an angel to divert Balaam’s path on the road to Moab.

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