Tag Archives: Israel

An Unlikely Testimony

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“And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” (Numbers 22:28)

This tale of a donkey talking has been the object of great ridicule by skeptics. That it is not an allegory or fable, however, but a real historical event was confirmed in the New Testament by the apostle Peter (2 Peter 2:15-16).

There is no naturalistic explanation for it, of course, but to insist that the event was impossible is simply to deny the power of God. Such miracles of creation are very rare, however, and there must always be a good reason when God intervenes in the laws which normally govern His creation.

One reason in this case, obviously, was to rebuke the prophet Balaam, who was resisting God’s will simply for monetary gain. Balaam’s voice itself would soon also have to be constrained and controlled by God to force him to do God’s will (Numbers 22:38; 23:16, 26; 24:13), blessing Israel instead of pronouncing the curse for which he was to have been paid by the Moabites, who were desperately trying to keep God’s people out of the Promised Land. The Moabites also needed an unforgettable rebuke. They were apostate descendants of Lot, who had known the true God (Numbers 25:1-3), but they were determined to thwart God’s purposes.

There may be another, more universal reason: God is concerned about His animal creation, caring even for every sparrow (Matthew 10:29). The animals have been placed under man’s dominion, but they are for his service, his instruction, and his enjoyment—not for his abuse.

Thus, Balaam’s ass was providentially allowed by God to rebuke not only Balaam but also anyone who would unnecessarily abuse one of His specially and beautifully designed animal subjects. Most Christians need to be much more sensitive to this concern of God. HMM

Pray Anyhow

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“Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.” (1 Samuel 12:23)

Samuel had served the children of Israel as their faithful judge for many years, and the Lord had blessed them and their land. Nevertheless, they began to want a king and pressed Samuel to get one for them. Finally, Samuel anointed Saul to be their king, but both Samuel and the Lord Himself were displeased with their demands.

Nevertheless, Samuel’s great heart, both for the Lord and for His people, is revealed in the promise of our text. Although he was hurt and disappointed, because he had led them successfully and justly his whole life, he would still pray for them and teach them. This is a great example for Christian leaders or workers today who, through no fault of their own, have been replaced by someone else.

Intercessory prayer is not easy, especially if our prayers are not appreciated by those we pray for. Nevertheless, it is a type of prayer ministry that especially pleases the Lord, and that is more important than human gratitude. “I exhort therefore” said Paul (no doubt reflecting God’s own desires), “that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul would even urge prayer for the emperor, Nero, who had imprisoned him and would eventually have him put to death.

Even Jesus had said that we should “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The Lord Jesus is the greatest intercessor of all. For when we sin (and all sin is sin against the Lord), He is our “advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), and in fact, “he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Therefore, should we not also be prayer intercessors? HMM

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