2 Peter 2:15 – Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2 Peter 2:16 – But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
Hello readers, I hope you’re having a great weekend. Today I want to talk about Balaam’s ass. Because I’ve learnt a lot from this dumb ass. You ever heard the saying “dumbass”? Well it’s in here. Sometimes it takes a dumb ass. Maybe God has put a dumb ass in your life who’s trying to turn you out of the way that you’re heading.
Because we’re all heading a bad way in our sin. The Bible says Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This wrong way can both be in terms of salvation, but also decision making in your practical life. If you’re heading a wrong way, you need to listen to the mouth God has opened to speak sense to you… even if they are a dumb ass in your estimation.
The situation is that Balaam was requisitioned by a guy called Balak to come and curse the children of Israel who had come out of Egypt. Umm, God had just delivered Israel out of Egypt, was he really going to curse who he had blessed? And God strictly forbade Balam from going with the messengers that Balak had sent to him. And Balaam refused the first time. Awesome.
But the second time, Balaam went back with them. There is no contradiction in this story found in Numbers 22, there is just the plain truth that if you’re going to go the way you’re going to go… God will let you go. God had told him not to go that way, and God doesn’t change what he has said. The fact is, God has never and will never change his word to accommodate us. But God will let us go down that path of iniquity if that’s what we are going to do. When we get into sin, it’s not because the sin becomes ok or less sin, it’s just because God is allowing you to do what you’re going to do.
But it turns out Balaam was fortunate that there was a dumb ass in his life. He didn’t feel very fortunate though! But God does not leave himself without a voice to the sinner. God will open a mouth to speak his word to you and probably already has many times over. It may be coming from only a dumb ass in your estimation but the voice sure is worth listening to. As Christians we are often that “dumb ass”, because we are the faithful but taken for granted creatures who’s only crime is that we tried to turn a disobedient sinner out the way of destruction.
This ass had never done anything wrong to Balaam. She had taken him wherever he went. And when people get it in for Christians, honestly what has that Christian really done against them for them to be so mad at? I’ve heard rebels rag on Christians endlessly. Man they get at it, man they spit at that Christian that did something so wrong to them once. But maybe it’s time to re-evaluate that horrendous crime you’re pinning on some poor Christian your whole life, when the reality is their only real crime (if you’re honest) is that they cared for your soul and weren’t willing to help you in the way of disobedience even at cost to self.
Is it that big a crime for the dumb ass to try to turn you out of the way of hell? We read in Numbers 22 that Balaam smote the ass each time she tried turning him out the way. And if you’re a true Christian, you know what it feels like to cop the wrath for doing what’s right before God by someone else.
Why did the ass try turning Balaam out the way? It’s because she could see what Balaam could not see. She saw the angel of the Lord in the way with the sword drawn. As Christians, we should see what people like Balaam cannot see. We should see the drawn sword, and boy it is drawn “If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.” And our duty is to try and warn and save others from the direction they’re heading and the drawn sword… but don’t count on getting thanks! This ass didn’t get a thank you and bless you from Balaam.
Balaam got mad at the ass principally because she didn’t comply with what he wanted her to do. This happens all the time. What the sinner gets mad at is that the Christian and ultimately Jesus Christ does not comply with their path of sin. They don’t want to bow to God, they want God and you to bow to them. Take a knee to me! And many professing Christians do because if Christians compromise on truth to get along, Balaam doesn’t get angry at them. But if Christians refuse complicity in iniquity, boy they would just about kill you for it.
But what did the ass know? She was just a “dumb ass” to Balaam. She was just this inferior beast of burden beneath him. Who’s that Christian beneath you, who’s life of long-suffering, graciousness and faith you’ve been riding these years? It’s amazing who’s mouth God’s word is in. Because it won’t be in someone glamorous and great like Balak, it will be that person beneath you, but that person who’s mouth God has opened to you. Who is the dumb ass in your life who’s tried turning you out of the way you are heading?
I’ve been Balaam in my own life, and I’ve seen it before. I’ve seen people getting mad with someone that tells them the truth, just as Balaam started beating this ass that was trying to save him. When God is in their way, they’re angry at you for seeing that God is in their way. And for so many people, it turns out that their biggest enemy in life is that horrible, evil, nasty person who just wants the best for them, who wants to see them saved. But you don’t like them because they’re preventing you from going the way that God is standing in. They’re frustrating your pursuit of disobedience to God. And they get mad. The get mad at the ass trying to save their life.
“I’m sorry but I just can’t go that way with you, I’m sorry I just can’t take you there” said the ass. What a solid she was doing Balaam here. I can’t take you to your death. I won’t be the vehicle for you to go to hell. You won’t go there because of me. And she was willing to suffer to save her master. And she said to him “When have I ever let you down before? I’ve served you faithfully my whole life and just because I can’t take you to your own death… you want to kill me for that?” Yes, I’m paraphrasing a bit, but read it for yourself and tell me that’s not what she was saying.
I’m reminded of what Paul wrote in Galatians 4:16 “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” What about this that Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:15 “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Sounds like Paul knew what it was like to be that dumb ass. It sounds like he knew what it was like to be penalized for the great crime of loving people in the truth.
One thing that the ass did was that she pointed to her track record, for the Bible says that she said “Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee?” Because guess what… her track record in life was proven. How about we all look back at the track record of those in our lives. What are the odds the people with the track record of faithfulness in your life are the ones that you hate the most? Look at the track record of those people you trust who have been nothing but trouble to you. Look at God’s track record of telling you the truth, delivering you time and time again from getting what you deserved… look at God’s track record of love and grace and mercy to you. How about you look at the track record?
Oh, but that ass hurt Baalam a bit. He got his little foot hurt against the wall. It’s not like he gave her much choice, there was a wall either side and he got it jammed a bit as she tried turning away. But people will hang on to that precious little “hurt” that a Christian may have inflicted on them and not ever see the bigger picture of that they’re trying to see you saved from your sin. Balaam said to the ass “because thou hast mocked me”… oh poor little dear. His ass made him look a little stupid, humiliated him a little bit, so he’s going to kill her because his pride got hurt. It’s funny how we feel mocked by truth… people get so offended by the cross of Jesus Christ and their little pride gets hurt.
Finally for today, we read that Balaam was rebuked by ass and she forbad his madness. We all need our madness to be forbidden by the truth of God’s word. Because the Bible said he was mad. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines madness as “a state of disordered reason or intellect” and “headstrong passion and rashness that act in opposition to reason”. You see, in our sin and disobedience to God… none of us are in in our right mind. Jesus Christ is who puts us in our right mind. Do you want a right mind, or a mad mind? Because this headstrong pursuit of sin that flies in the face of all reason and truth is utter madness. It is madness to go to hell against all the warnings of the Bible. It’s madness to go to hell deceived by the devil.
Rebuke is what Balaam needed, but a fool will not hear rebuke. Do you hear the rebuke of God’s word? Do you hear what you want, or will you hear what you need? Jesus Christ is more for you than you are. And as the Bible says “turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
And you may say, Balaam didn’t die here, and no he didn’t then and there. But look what happened to him. We read in the book of Joshua that he got killed by the children of Israel. Balaam’s foolhardy pursuit of sin was his destruction. He heard the ass, but he did not listen to the ass. He was still intent on his path and his way. God’s word should about face us, but for most it will not, for most they will not be deterred from the path of destruction. May Jesus Christ give us the grace to hear and heed and obey him, and trust him and his way in each of our lives, and may we hear his voice, even when it comes from a dumb ass in our lives.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)