God’s mercy and judgement (Why it sucks to be Balaam’s donkey)


If you want, have a read of Num 22:21-34 or read this pretty good biblical study about Balaam.

It’s a thankless task being the donkey that Balaam rides on – let me tell you!

Just think about it, Balaam is a fortune teller, that is how he makes money. He is hired to curse Israel, but God warns him about it. Balaam then rides his donkey towards the place where he can do his wrongful act and make some money.

So God sends an angel of the Lord to strike Balaam down. Balaam’s donkey can see the angel about to strike Balaam, so the donkey turns away. As he turns away and saves Balaam, he scratches Balaam’s leg on something.

Balaam can’t see the dangerous angel of the Lord, so Balaam gets upset and hits the donkey. Think about how unfair that is. The donkey saves Balaam’s life and then gets hit by Balaam. This wouldn’t have happened if Balaam could have been able to see the angel of the Lord with his sword drawn and ready to strike, but Balaam’s heart is set on making money so his eyes are not opened to God and God’s ways.

Now… there is a second layer to this story. Because of Balaam’s wrongful choices, he was about to be struck down by the angel of the Lord. But God’s mercy was also available and it was God who opened the donkey’s eyes to see the angel of the Lord and the danger that Balaam was in.

The donkey protected Balaam three times. The angel of the Lord continued to be a threat, but because of Balaam’s lust for money he didn’t stop and he couldn’t see the danger – so he kept beating the poor good willed and helpful donkey!

God could have killed Balaam right then and there, but His mercy continued even further and enabled the donkey to speak to Balaam. But even that didn’t stop him… Balaam was so angry he argued and then declared he wanted to kill the donkey.

Again God could have ended it then, but His mercy continued still further. The Lord opened Balaam’s eyes to the problem so he can see for himself.

What can we learn from this story? God shows us His mercy in the face of His righteous judgement in that story. Both are available at the same time.

I am convinced that many people in power are so blinded by money that they are not at all seeing the immense danger that our choices have brought upon us.

Here is a link to a prophetic post which refers to another post… Something is stirring concerning a past warning given to America by James Robison in 2006. (The original post is here.)

Meanwhile, these same people are punishing the donkey who is trying to save them through intercession with God. And it pisses the donkey off, let me tell you!

But God’s mercy extends further. The angel still stands ready to strike. But I know that for as long as Christians are interceding, this evil is held back. In the story what comes next is for God to open Balaam’s eyes to see the danger for themselves.

I have read that post and others like it. Many Christians are seeing an impending disaster. But my response is to intercede and to believe in Jesus Christ, because we know that He died for us while we were still sinners.

Think about it… when God showed Abraham the danger coming to Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham felt love and care for the people in the cities and he negotiated with God. 50 people Lord?  45? 40? 30? 20? 10?

I remember the exact place and day when I had a similar conversation with God. I was standing in Garema and I saw the danger coming.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness [all] peoples, but the Lord shall arise upon you [O Jerusalem], and His glory shall be seen on you. – Isaiah 60:2

I understand that Balaam couldn’t see the dense darkness, but I could and it was terrible. I wrote about it and I described it as “dripping off the trees”. It was everywhere. God said to me to “leave” and I had a job offer in Brissy. I could have left. Felicity was there with me as GOd was speaking to me. I could have left.

But I remembered what I had previously thought about Abraham’s conversation with God… previously I had wondered why Abraham even tried to look for 10 people. It was and is hopeless. Our best efforts are filthy rags. No one is righteous, no not even one!

So I proposed to God that no one was righteous anywhere and if we just kept destroying city and after city, all that would happen is that hearts would harden further and more marriages would break up, more abortion, more prostitution.

God’s righteousness is just and it’s right. But it’s not a solution, and that is what I proposed (bravely) to Him.

It was after this time that God began to show me His solution was in the mercy, the grace, the “jubilee” that Jesus Christ has provided for us. You can read about it in Is 61:1-2 which corresponds to the statement that Jesus made about Himself in Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 4:18; Luke 4:19; Luke 7:22.

Meanwhile… Balaam kept hitting the donkey. And the donkey slowly got tired of it.

I understand that prophets can see the danger that is present, but are any of them interceding and acting in a more pastoral way as Moses did before the Lord in Exodus 32:9-14. God wanted to wipe out the Israelites, but Moses talked Him out of it. That is being a prophet before the Lord, interceding on behalf of the nation, helping them, gaining mercy for them. Moses didn’t just blog what God was about to do and bravely lament while shrugging his shoulders.

To the prophets… If you are prophetic and God has shown you something, don’t just meekly accept the destruction of people and their lives. Love the people! Are you not also a sinner? Is your sin better than theirs? Are you not also deserving of the judgement that you meekly accept is coming?

To Balaam… how close to being struck down must you get before you change your ways? You had a close shave already. Did you learn anything? Should the donkey stop protecting you and let you be struck completely? Or should the donkey allow you to have a bit more or a skirmish with the angel of the Lord, and THEN will you stop and realise that you need to change!? That IS an option.

To the church… stop playing along and “going along to get along”. All the positive thinking and prosperity nonsense of the last decade didn’t stop the world from losing it’s shirt in this financial crisis. Take a stand for what is right and what is good. Where you see evil, oppose it! You are not called to fit in meekly and gain acceptance, you are called to stand out and make an impact. You are leaven in the dough – called to change everything around you!

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