This week has been a challenge. My to-do list grows longer each day, and my ta-da list (the list of things I actually accomplished) remains unchanged. Things at work are tense, leaving me too tired and stressed out to focus on things at home.
Last night, while reading through my daily Bible reading, (I’m several days behind schedule, but I’m reading nonetheless.) I came across the story of Balaam and Balak. You may not know those names immediately, but I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the story. It’s most famous character is a talking donkey. I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard some minister say, “If God can use a donkey, he can certainly use you.”
Anyway, in the story, Balak, a Moabite king, hires Balaam to put a curse on the Israelites, who have settled near the Moabites. Balaam initially refuses, but eventually goes. The Lord is angry that Balaam is going and sends an angel in the road to kill him. Three times, the donkey sees the angel and turns aside to preserve Balaam’s life. Each time, Balaam beats the donkey. (This week, I definitely feel like the donkey) Finally the donkey has had enough and asks Balaam what his problem is. The Lord opens Balaam’s eyes to reveal the angel. Balaam asks forgiveness from the Lord, but never apologizes to the donkey who saved his life. (Did I mention I feel like the donkey in this story?)
But that’s not even the part of the story that spoke to me. Balaam continues his journey into Moab. When he arrives, Balak says come see these people and curse them for me. Balaam says he can only say what God gives him to say. So Balak takes him up to see the Israelite camp. He sees them and blesses them. Balak is angry and tells Balaam that’s not what he hired him to do. Balak then takes him to a different area so he can get a different view of the Israelite camp. Again, Balaam sees the people and blesses them. This happens multiple times. Balaam offers a blessing, Balak takes him to a different spot trying to change his perspective, but his response is the same. The Hebrew people are blessed.
Okay, so maybe I’m not the donkey. Maybe, I’m more like Balak, calling down curses for no real reason, seeking someone to validate my pitiful disposition. Maybe I identify more with Balaam, taking my frustrations out on people and things who are just trying to preserve my life. But more than likely, as any good preacher will tell you, I am like the Israelites, wandering through the wilderness, on my way to the promised land. Despite my disobedience, the Lord still provides and encamps around me, and no matter how I look at it, I’m blessed.
so are you.