Summary: Let's talk about one of the most interesting stories in the Bible, when a donkey talked to the prophet Balaam. This story in the Bible is not only shows God's sense of humor, but it one of those stories that we really can learn a lot from.
Today we’re going to look at one of the most interesting stories in the Bible, when a donkey, an ass, talked to the prophet Balaam.
In all honesty, I’ve had a hard time figuring this guy out. After reading the story of Balaam and the talking donkey again, I told the Lord, I’m confused about Balaam? Was he really a prophet of yours? Or was he false prophet, a sorcerer, a soothsayer? I mean, Balaam did pronounce some of the most inspired poetic blessings in God’s Name upon God’s people. Lord, you also spoke with Balaam several times and your Spirit came upon him several times. If Balaam was a false prophet, a heathen soothsayer, why did you speak directly with him? Why did your Spirit come upon him? Lord, i’m confused, I don’t get it?
The Lord reminded me of “2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”; 2 Pet 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. I said, O.K. Lord!
The Lord began showing me, how easy it is to believe that Balaam was a not a true prophet of God, but that he certainly was not a fake or false prophet either. The Lord (Yahweh Jehovah) did directly speak to Balaam several times, Num. 22:20: That night God came to Balaam and said…. Num. 23:5 says, The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth. Num. 23:4, 16 says: The Lord met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth.”
It also tells us, Num. 24:2-4 “the Spirit of God came on him 3 and he spoke his message:“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor”, the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly, 4 the prophecy of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty,
Now, there are only a few references in the O.T., the whole Bible for that matter, where God came to, put His words in the mouth, and His Spirit came upon someone, and each reference is to a prophet of the Lord.
Balaam in this regard, was an authentic prophet of God (Yahweh). Balaam even appeared to speak as a prophet of God, and pronounced one of the most poetic blessings on God’s people Num. 23:18-23 and Num. 24:1-9. Balaam even speaks Godly, Num. 22:12-13:
Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, 13 ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord —and I must say only what the Lord says’?
However, throughout the rest of the Holy Bible, Balaam is only spoken of as a wicked prophet who was hired by the King Moab to call down a curse on God’s people. Jesus even speaks of Balaam as a wicked prophet in Rev. 2:14.
Although, Balaam may have been a wicked prophet, he was not a false or fake prophet. That is, God did speak to him directly, His Spirit came upon him, and He did give him prophecies to speak. However, Balaam’s heart was not right with God, and eventually he showed his true colors by betraying Israel and leading them astray.
In Balaam we have one of the most puzzling, and contradictory characters of the Bible. It’s easy to think of Balaam as just an evil, wicked man, condemn him as devoid of principle, full of greed. But when we conceive of Balaam simply as a wicked, evil man only, we miss the real character, the warnings, the lesson, the true essences of what this testimony of Balaam is designed to teach us, show us, warn us. There is a reason why God used Balaam, and he being the only person God opened the mouth of an an animal to speak.
Stay with me, we’re going somewhere!
Now, Jesus Himself spoke of the ways of Balaam, as the doctrine of Balaam in Rev. 2:14
Jesus when speaking to the Church of Pergamos, where He says Satan’s seat is, says: But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Notice what Jesus calls the “doctrine of Balaam” – It was the teaching or counsel of Balaam to Balak that lead to Israel sacrificing unto idols and committing fornication, and Jesus is not just talking about fornication in terms of sex, but in terms of covenant breaking.