From the Mouth of a Donkey

Bible Reading: Numbers 22; 23; 24

Balaam was on his way to see King Balak, who had asked him to come put a curse on Israel. Three times along the journey, an angel blocked his way, causing Balaam's donkey to turn from the path. Balaam angrily beat her each time. "Then the Lord opened the donkey's mouth"! "What have I done to you to make you beat me...?" she asked, "...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?'" (22:28,30) "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" (22:31). The angel said, "…I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me..." (22:32). The donkey had saved Balaam from destruction. When Balaam repented, the angel told him to go to Balak, but to do and speak only what God told him.

Lord, when I am traveling a reckless path, block my way. Give my friends courage to open their mouths and warn me of my recklessness. Instead of lashing out in anger or taking offense, open my heart to the wisdom of their words. Bring me facedown before you, in humble repentance. Then let me do and say only what you tell me.

Give me wisdom as I encourage my children to make choices that are pleasing to you. Help them to see clearly the potential consequences of every path that they consider walking down. Make them realize when they are heading down a path where they will be tempted to do something contrary to your will. Reveal to them the reckless nature of that path and the destruction that is sure to follow if they don't correct their course. Place obstacles in their way that will hinder their progression toward evil and redirect their steps toward you. Give them friends who will be like-minded in seeking you and will have the courage, wisdom and love to open their mouths at the appropriate time to point out reckless or insensitive behavior.

When I am the "donkey" who must forcefully turn my children from destruction, give me the love and strength I need to persevere when I must endure their abuse. Gently remind them how I have always protected and cared for them. Strengthen them with an awareness of my love, that "never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance" (1 Cor. 13:7 NLT). Open their eyes to see you standing before them, with outstretched arms, reassuring them, "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go" (Is. 48:17). Melt their anger, fear and rebellion as you take them by the hand and lead them into "an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and the endurance that comes from Christ" (2 Thess. 3:5 NLT).