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Summary: God wants us to carry our share of the load and not be too comfortable to join in the battle.

Portions of this message were taken from a message by Dr. Neil Chadwick which can be read in its entirety at

Most scripture portions of this message are quoted from the New International Version of the Bible.

Pastor James May


Sunday, March 16, 2003 PM

How would it feel to you if you were told that you reminded someone of a donkey? That’s actually what happened to a little known man in the Bible. He was a son Of Jacob named Issachar.

Genesis 49:14-15, "Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down between two saddlebags. When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor. (NIV)

Genesis 49:14-15, "Issachar is no better than a donkey That lies stretched out between its saddlebags. But he sees that the resting place is good And that the land is delightful. So he bends his back to carry the load And is forced to work as a slave. “ (Good News Bible)

It’s interesting to see that we often assign various human characteristics to different animals. Some animals come out looking good, others don’t.

-When we don’t like someone we might call them a "rat", and when life gets very hectic, we call it a "rat" race.

-When someone is busy they’re as busy as a "bee."

-The "fox" is sly, the "snake" is sneaky and deceptive, and the "owl" is wise.

-Often we hear about "puppy" love, mother "hens", and "bear" hugs; but we live in a "dog-eat-dog" world.

-When you "ape" someone, you’re copying them in a mocking way, perhaps while you are just acting like a "monkey”.

-Everyone knows that the "goose" is silly, and an overweight person is like a beached "whale."

-To be "Catting" is to be bad; but we like things which are soft as a "kitten."

-When someone is as hungry as a "bear", they will probably "wolf" down their food, or perhaps even "pig" out.

-Lawyers after insurance money are called "vultures."

-If you’re quick, you’re like a "bunny"; if you’re not, you’re slow as a "turtle" or a “snail”.

-We all know that "bulls" are clumsy, so we would never take one into the china closet.

-If you’re quiet, you’re like a "mouse"; if you’re stubborn, you’re a "mule"; if you’re strong, you’re like an "ox".

-The "eagle" reminds us of majesty, and "elephants" never forget.

-Some people are as happy as a "lark"; if they sing like a "canary", that’s good, but to sing like a "crow" or a “stool pigeon” isn’t so good.

But right now we’re talking about the "donkey" which most people consider as a dumb, hard headed and stubborn animal.

In the Bible, it seems that the "donkey" was often thought of in a different fashion as we do today because it seems that Issachar didn’t become offended when his father, on his death bed, compared him to one. Perhaps Issachar was just “mule-headed” enough to not let anything bother him anymore.

Donkeys didn’t always take the wrap for being a stubborn animal and there were a few times when their stubbornness actually paid off for them.

Isaiah 1:3 says, “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, and my people do not understand." (NIV)

In the 22nd Chapter of Numbers there is the story of another donkey who not only saved the life of the prophet who rode upon him but who was able to speak to his rider.

Numbers 22:21-31, “Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, "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 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. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.” (NIV)

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