• The Donkey in the Bible that Talks

    Thanks for joining me in this blog series, #40before40 : What I’m Loving and What I’m Learning. This is post #11. Leave a comment below to let me know you were here. Don’t be shy! Your voice is important.

    . . .

    I love the story of the talking donkey! Because God saves the desperate and the oppressed. 

    The first time I read through the book of Numbers, I was really excited when I got to the story of the talking donkey. 

    I had heard people reference the story many times, but I had never actually read it for myself. I don’t think I had even heard a sermon on the story, and I’ve gone to church my whole life. The only thing I’d heard people say was, “Well, If God can use a donkey . . . then he can use you too.”

    To my delight, the story was much better than I imagined. I found that it’s not just a story about God using a donkey. It’s a story of God saving a donkey’s life. I decided that I relate to this donkey more than any other character in the Bible.

    CONTEXT for the story about Balaam’s Donkey: 

    To give some context to the story, it takes place after the great Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. It’s two chapters after Moses strikes the rock with his staff and drinking water gushes out. The Israelites have won some battles, and the king of Moab is intimidated when this massive group of people sets up camp in the plains of Moab.  

    So the king of Moab summons Balaam, who is known for successfully cursing and blessing people. The king offers to reward him handsomely. 

    God tells Balaam, “You must not put a curse on these people, because they are blessed.”

    But God finally tells Balaam he can go to Moab but he must only do what God tells him to do. 

    NUMBERS 22:21-38 (NIV)

    Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road. 

    Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again. 

    Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

    Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” 

    The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

    “No,” he said.

    Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. 

    The angel of the Lord said, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come 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 . . . “


    The donkey has no clue what he’s done wrong.  The donkey doesn’t know that Balaam can’t see the angel. Yet Balaam beats his donkey three times, to the point that he would kill it if he could.

    I love that God gives the donkey a voice. I have been in situations in life when I needed a miracle from God. I needed him to give me a voice. I needed his powerful hand to save me.

    That’s why I love the lyrics to the song, “Reckless Love.”

    “There’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up, coming after me. There’s no wall you won’t kick down, Lie you won’t tear down, coming after me.” 

    Have there been times in your life when you were desperate, like this donkey, and you needed a miracle from God?

    This donkey was trapped because of God’s own angel. He was also saved by a miracle from God.

    And his crazy story is told to God’s people to this day. That’s pretty miraculous.

    Balaam is Referenced in 2 Peter 2:15-16 “They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.” Also in Jude 1:11 and Revelation 2:14.

    It is a story that matters.

    Every creature matters to God. He will give every creature justice.


    It reminds me of the story of the guy who got his arm caught in a rock in the canyon while he was hiking alone. Did you see that movie 127 hours? It is based on Aron Ralston’s true story of being stuck in a canyon for six days.

    Just like the donkey, Ralston is stuck in a canyon with no one to help him. Desperate and suffering.

    He needed a miracle from God. He needed a voice, and he spoke to his family into his camera. But they could not help him because they could not hear him. No one knew where he was. 

    Then he had a vision. It was him picking up a boy. When he looked into the boy’s eyes, he knew it was his son. Then he knew he would get out somehow. He was going to have a son one day.

    Miraculously, he survives.

    Spoiler alert: He realizes he can cut his own arm and break the bone to free himself. 

    It is such a great story of how God comes through for us in our most desperate time of need.



    Thanks for joining me in this blog series, #40before40 : What I’m Loving and What I’m Learning. This is post #11. Leave a comment below to let me know you were here. Don’t be shy! Your voice is important.

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