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Bible verses about Balaam's Donkey
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Numbers 22:23  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Balaam tries to do to the donkey what God was trying to do to him!

At this first appearance of the Angel of the Lord, the donkey changes course (good donkey!). Balaam tries to put her back on course—on his course. The donkey proves to be smarter than Balaam. When God stands against a person, the wisest course of action is to turn away and stop moving in the direction he is going because God has a sword and is ready to cut him off.

But Balaam is too blind. He does not see God at all in this, though the donkey does. The donkey knows that Balaam's path leads to destruction, and it wisely turns aside. Blind Balaam continues down the path of sin.

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on. (Proverbs 4:14-1)

This is exactly what the donkey is trying to do, but what does Balaam do? He stupidly continues on because he could not see the danger. The donkey shows itself wiser than the "Wise and Powerful Balaam, the Renowned Enchanter"!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Numbers 22:24-25  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What does God do? His first attempt to get Balaam's attention fails—not with the donkey, but with Balaam. The man is totally oblivious to what is going on. So God narrows him in or hedges him in. The path that Balaam was taking led between two hedges or walls. There was enough room,however, for the donkey to turn aside, which is what she did. She turned away, but in doing so, Balaam's foot became crushed against the wall, causing him pain. Perhaps God thought that a little pain would help him come to his senses.

However, Balaam does not think about God at all. He thinks, "You stupid donkey! Why did you do that to me?" He does not say anything at this point but beats the poor donkey. His injury does not cause him to consider at all that God may be trying to get his attention. It never comes to mind that God may be telling him something. He takes all his pain and rage out on this innocent donkey, which was only trying to obey God.

Think of the donkey in terms of this passage:

But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape safely. (Psalm 141:8-10)

The donkey who saw God would have avoided the trap and escaped, if it were not for Balaam controlling her. He made her go back into the trap—and on to his own ruin.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Numbers 22:26-27  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Again, the donkey proves herself wiser than Balaam.

God frequently does this: First, He gets us in a wide place and allows us to make our decisions. It soon becomes apparent which direction we are going, which path we are taking. Then God begins to narrow the way, especially if He sees us going in the wrong direction. He catches us in a place where we can turn around and gives us an opportunity to make a right decision. If we do not do what He wants us to do, He will go a little further down the path—a little bit later in our life—to catch us in a place where the answer is obvious, and we can do nothing except stop, and say, "God help me! I've gone the wrong way, and I need You to open the path for me."

He does this to Balaam. He gets him to the point where there is only plunging on to destruction on one hand, and on the other, stopping and retracing his steps to where he can head in the right direction.

This is the point where Balaam is in these two verses. The donkey simply lies down, as that is all she can do. Proverbs 22:3 says, "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." The donkey is the "prudent man" here, and blind Balaam is "the simple." He is so without any spiritual acumen that he is just like a foolish simpleton. He cannot see wisdom; he cannot make a wise choice. However, the dumb donkey can!

As a last resort, God takes matters one more step. He is always full of mercy, willing to give us that one more chance to make the right choice. But now He has to do something drastic!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Numbers 22:28-30  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

It is incredible that Balaam even replies to the donkey. If an animal spoke to one of us, would we respond? Perhaps he thought, "Well, I've talked to her enough. She was bound to answer me sometime." This is obviously a miracle—there is only one other place in the Bible (Genesis 3, the serpent to Eve) where an animal speaks—yet Balaam acts as if it happens to him every day! The donkey asks him questions, and he answers!

Balaam is totally, spiritually out of it. He has no thought for God or for spiritual things. He is so self-possessed, so full of self-interest that he cannot think beyond the end of his nose! All he is thinking about is, "What am I going to do when I get to Balak? He's going to pile all this money on me! How am I going to set up the sacrifices? What am I going to do? How am I going to say this? I know God will let me do it because I'm just a wonderful negotiator, and that's just the way it is. All the other gods have done exactly as I've bargained, so I think. . . ." As he travels, he talks to himself like this, thinking only about the wonderful job and the wealth he has ahead of him. He is heedless to anything else.

When these amazing things happen, they fail to faze him. They fail to make him wonder what is going on. He does not even ask why the donkey was treating him in a way she had never had before. She was totally out of character! She speaks, and he answers! It illustrates the depth of his spiritual blindness. He could not see God if He had bit him!

In today's lingo, we would call Balaam totally materialistic. Everything was based on what he could see, feel, hear, smell, and taste. He could not understand beyond that.

He was involved in spiritism, with augury, enchanting, and such, but there is nothing spiritual about him. He had no depth. And this made him thoroughly evil. He bore a nice façade that made him look spiritual, but in reality, there was nothing there. The donkey was more truly spiritual than he was!

He may have had some spiritual knowledge, but it did not work in him properly because he never put it into practice. He may have known about Israel, about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, perhaps even of some of God's instructions to Israel. He certainly knew God was, in all His power and sovereignty, working for them. But none of this knowledge that he may have had did him any good. He even talked to God, and God talked back to him! God was doing all these things in his life, and he was thoroughly blind to all of it.

The incredible thing here is that Balaam acted as if these things happened to him every day. But they did not! These were once-in-a-lifetime events, but he was so self-centered that he shrugged them off, ignoring them as if they did not matter. Here was the great sovereign God saying, "Wake up, Balaam! I'm here! Can't you see Me? Can't you see Me working?" But Balaam is blind to the true reality of Him. The "seer" can see nothing because he is so stuck on the here and now, on what he has in his hand and in his pocket.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Numbers 22:32  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God does not demand, "Why did you leave your house when I told you not to unless they came back to you," but he asks Balaam why he struck the donkey. God was quite concerned about this donkey; one could say He was more concerned about the donkey than about Balaam at this point, because the man was not on God's "good list." God has a soft spot for the weak—"the poor" the Bible calls them. And such are we.

Yet, here was Balaam, who had pretensions of being a good person but who was thoroughly evil, taking out his frustrations on the righteous, symbolized by this donkey—those who see God and try to do what He says. Balaam, in the seat of power over the donkey, beats her for obeying God. So God's concern is rightly for His oppressed creature.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Numbers 22:32-33  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Perverse (verse 32) is in Hebrew yarat. It does not quite mean "perverse"; the preferred meaning is interesting: "to precipitate; to be precipitant; to push headlong; to drive recklessly."

God says to Balaam, "Your way is headlong and reckless before Me. It is precipitant." It is as if Balaam were driving 90 mph down a steep hill, heedless of the danger at the bottom. He had no foresight. God says, "That's perverse. Balaam, you are not looking ahead to the consequences! Your way is going to get you into trouble."

He is like a daredevil, like Evel Knievel, who without thought or fear, endangers his and others' lives for his own selfish purposes. He rushes through life for everything that he can get out of it, never thinking about what will happen afterward, in the end. He is a man who cannot look past the end of his nose. He is so consumed with himself that he sees nothing down the road, only what is happening now. God says that is perverse.

A wise man looks ahead and sees where he is going to land. If a man like Balaam gets up a head of steam, he thinks that no one will stop him. Conversely, if we consider the donkey to stand for those who actually see God at work, we can notice a few things:

  • The donkey responds to God's direction.

  • The donkey is persecuted for her obedience.

  • The donkey, in her meekness, does not retaliate. Does she reach back and nip Balaam like he should have been? No.

  • God says that it is for her sake that He has not carried out His judgment on Balaam. This is interesting because the same thing happens because of us. Jesus calls us the salt of the earth, and part of its meaning is that we are the preservative in this world. If the saints did not exist, there would be no world. This donkey was the only thing standing in God's way of totally consuming Balaam. We are the donkey. Because God has mercy on us, we who see God are the only ones keeping the Balaams of this world from getting totally snuffed out.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

 




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