When I think about the sheer awesomeness of God, I think about His power, His creativity and His holiness. I marvel at His mercies, His majesty, His goodness, and His strength. And sometimes, when I’m reading the Bible, I smile at His sense of humor. Does God have a sense of humor? You betcha! Think about it: if humans have a sense of humor, and we’re made in the image and likeness of God, where do you think we got it from? Our Creator is the originator of all laughter and joy and humor. There are a few examples of this in the Bible, but my all-time favorite story is found in the Book of Numbers, chapter 22:21-39. I encourage you to read all of Numbers 22, but for the sake of time (and space), please allow me to set the scene for you..
The long and the short of it
The King of Moab (Balak) is afraid of the army of Israel because they are a large army. King Balak knows that he can’t win the imminent battle against them, so he sends men to get Balaam (the prophet of God) to come and perform a curse over Israel. King Balak would pay handsomely for Balaam to declare this curse. But at night, God comes to Balaam and tells him that he cannot curse a people that He (God) has blessed. So, Balaam refuses to go with the men. They leave, but come back a second time offering more money to Balaam. This time, though he consents to go with them. Now, the Lord is not happy with Balaam’s decision to go. Nevertheless, the next morning Balaam saddles his donkey and sets out for the land of Moab.
Here’s where things get interesting
Balaam is riding along on his favorite donkey, just minding his own business, when all of a sudden, the donkey goes off the road and into a field (vineyard). Balaam’s like, *“Stupid donkey,” and he hits her to make her get back on the road. Well, instead of going where Balaam wants her to go, the donkey backs up into the narrow part of the vineyard which has walls on either side. The donkey is freaking out and starts leaning into one of the walls, crushing Balaam’s foot in the process. Now, Balaam is really mad, so he strikes the donkey again. Balaam doesn’t know what’s wrong with this animal. (Pretty soon he’s going to know exactly what she’s thinking though.) Suddenly, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, the donkey decides to lie down pinning Balaam under her. So, Balaam strikes the donkey for a third time. Well, the donkey can contain herself no longer and she SAYS, and I quote: “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” (Are you smiling right now? I am.)
Here’s how the conversation goes between Balaam and his donkey. Donkey: “Why have you struck me these THREE times?” (She knows how many times she’s been hit)
Balaam: (says to the donkey) “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” (Notice that Balaam is having a normal conversation with an animal and he doesn’t seem to notice.)
Donkey: “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?”
Balaam: “No.” (I’m dying over here)
We know from the story that God had placed an angel with a sword drawn to block the way, and the donkey was the only one who could see the angel. So, she did what any logical donkey would do when faced with a situation like that. She stopped moving forward. I think it’s interesting that in the explanation from the donkey, she doesn’t defend herself by saying that the angel was stopping her. She basically appeals to Balaam’s logic and her relationship with him. (Wow)
After all of this, God opens Balaam’s eyes to see the angel. Then the angel of the Lord tells Balaam that if the donkey had not stopped, he would have killed Balaam and let the donkey live.
This was a serious situation, but we can clearly see the humor in it. God is awesome. If He can open the mouth of a donkey to have a conversation with a person, is there anything God can’t do?
Sometimes I think we just need to lighten up a little and enjoy the sense of humor that our God has freely given to us to enjoy. That being said, if your pets start talking to you make sure you get it on video ‘cause that would be the coolest thing ever.
Thanks for reading!
Shalom, Big D
*The statement, “Stupid donkey,” is not in the Bible.