Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“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. (Numbers 22:28-30)
Balak, king of Moab, who was afraid of the Israelites who crossed the red sea, and matched through the land, while defeating nearby countries. Bible tells “Balak saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.” (Numbers 22:2-3)
In fear, Balak sent messengers to summon Balaam, God’s prophet: “A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.” Balaam asked to God, whether he should have gone with Balak’s messengers or not. God said no. Thus, Balaam said no. Balak’s messengers returned to Balak. However, soon Balak sent again his officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. Again, Balaam said no, but he was persuaded, accepted the Balak’s offer, and followed the Balak’s officials. Bible tells “God was very angry.”
On the way, Balaam’s donkey behaved very strangely. The donkey did not follow what Balaam told to do. When the donkey arrived at a narrow path, the donkey refused to go forward while crushing Balaam’s foot against the wall. He beat the donkey, but the donkey did not move. Finally, the donkey lay down under Balaam. Balaam was very angry and beat the donkey with his staff. Then God opened the mouth of the donkey.
Balaam was angry because of the donkey, although the donkey saw the angel of the LORD with a drawn sword in his hand, which Balaam could not see. Without knowing this imminent danger, he pushed hard the donkey refusing to move forward. Balaam even beat the donkey. How stupid Balaam was! He was running into the danger without knowing because he was blind. God who loved Balaam opened the mouth of the donkey to reveal the truth.
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:3-6)
Saul was the elite Jew. He was taught by Gamaliel, one of the most renowned Pharisees and one of the important religious leaders. Saul was trained according to the strict manner of the law, and was zealous for God more than anybody else. Because of his credentials, the high priest granted a full empowerment to Saul so that if he found any Christians, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. Saul firmly believed that he was doing God’s work, and persecuted believers in zeal of serving God. He was absolutely blind to the truth about what he was doing – he was serving his own belief while seriously threatening God’s people.
God, who loved Saul, came and told: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” while flashing a bright light around Saul, which made him get blind. Saul was entering in Damascus to capture Christians with the power of the high priest, but he heard a voice from heaven and got blind. He became helpless. Rather than capturing Christians, now he needed a helper. By the hands of a helper, he entered in Damascus.
For three days he could not see, and did not eat or drink anything. Three days later, God sent Ananias. Ananias came and prayed for Saul. Saul regained his sight. Saul realized the truth: who Jesus was, and what he was doing. He got up and was baptized first, and after taking some food, he restored his strength. Saul spent days with the disciples in Damascus. At once, he began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God in the synagogues. All those who heard him were astonished.
Do we hear the voice of God? Sometimes it quietly whispers to our eyes like a gentle breeze in spring. Sometime it forcefully comes into our lives as Saul experienced on the way to Damascus. Yes, God even uses a donkey as He did to Balaam. God is always telling us about His love and truth because He really cares for us. However, our heart is so much full, and there is no room for God’s voice.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says…” (Rev 2:7)
Let’s pray together. Oh, God! You are merciful and full of love. Please grant us eyes to hear you, and eyes to see your hands, especially in our time of need, and strengthen us so that we can do what you want to do in our lives rather than to serve our own desire. You are one and only one ever-loving God. Amen.