Posted by: arieliondotcom | February 13, 2013

Dumber than a Jackass

Today’s Scripture could be a script for a comedy show on television. Or a game show, Who’s Dumber than a Jackass? Until you realizes the frightening real question: When will GOD’s patience run out?

The LORD is like an exasperated parent whose children in the back seat have misbehaved all the way over a long trip. He has threatened them, He has disciplined them, now He has decided to just drive on and get them to their destination no matter how they act before He kills them all. We have seen from the previous chapters that Israel has gone from bad to worse. Instead of just blaming Moses now they’re brazen enough to blame GOD Himself for being miserable. And yet He refuses to utterly destroy them and drives on. They are stubborn children but they are still His children and He is determined to keep His Word to Abraham Isaac and Jacob and not wipe them out. It is no accident that they are called “Israel” and the children of Israel, because they struggle against Him continually. And He allows them to defeat their enemies just as He promised to get them to the Promised Land.

One of these enemies is the Amorites. And when Balak, King of the Moabites, sees them approaching his people and has heard about what they did to the Amorites, he hires a soothsayer, Baalam, to curse them so he can defeat them. Now Baalam is an ancient version of a sleazy television preacher. He will do what needs to be done to make money, even if it’s on a questionable theological point. When the bribe arrives to curse GOD’s people, he does whatever he can to get away with it. But he is also a coward. So when GOD actually speaks to him and warns him not to curse Israel he doesn’t yet he literally goes along for the ride on a donkey to try to compromise with Balak and to try to see if GOD will change his mind.

Although GOD gave Balaam permission to go, He was about to have an angel kill him for not refusing to go instead. But Balaam’s jackass, or donkey, whom he had his whole life, tried to avoid the angel waiting to kill Balaam with a sword. A donkey may live as long as 40 years so Balaam may literally have ridden her his entire life. Yet rather than trusting her, he beat her three times as she was trying to defend him. Balaam’s so hardheaded, more than any jackass, that he isn’t even surprised when the donkey speaks and protests being beaten! He still argues he was right! The angel finally appears, commends the donkey and chastises Balaam but lets him keep his appointment with Balak. But with the warning not to curse Israel.

Then it’s a case of Dumb and Dumber as King Balak keeps trying to get Balaam to curse Israel, and Balaam keeps trying, hoping a curse will come out, but only blessings for Israel and to terrify Balak come out! It’s a classic case of the LORD saying, “I can say what I want about My children but I’d better not hear anyone else speak badly about them!” And Balak finally tells Balaam to stop before he does any more damage!

We will see later in Scripture that Balak and his people are wiped out over trying to harm Israel and hire Balaam. Balaam too will be killed as he continues to compromise and be with Israel’s enemies. He is given as an example of those who truly to use GOD for profit. He eventually got the people of Israel to sin and get punished for it but GOD never did completely wipe them out and still hasn’t to this day.

But what about us? Do we keep trying for a Yes when GOD has already said a loud and clear NO? Do we do what we know is wrong expecting it to magically turn right? Let’s examine ourselves and seek to be as wise as the jackass that knew to avoid the end of GOD’s patience.

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