Balaam follows Balak’s men to go and try to curse Israel, even though he’s been commanded by God that the people of Israel shall not be cursed, so the Angel of the Lord comes against Balaam. This is the famous part of the story where the donkey saves Balaam three times and then the Lord opens Balaam’s eyes to the battle going on around him, and Himself with a sword.
Now, a donkey can’t actually stop the will of God. If God had decreed to kill Balaam, Balaam would be dead. He’s got another plan. He’s going to use Balaam to speak blessing over Israel and to show Balak how these are His chosen people. He’s also going to use Balaam to test the hearts of His people. That’s all coming up in the story later and not in this section of the Scripture for today.
Thankfully, God doesn’t strike out in anger and kill all sinners when their hearts are in the wrong place. None of us would have made it this far. God is patient and merciful, and God will also use things to get our attention, to redirect our paths, and to accomplish His plan for our lives.
God used the donkey. God used a big fish for Jonah and a little one to pay Peter’s taxes. God used a storm and a shipwreck to redirect Paul’s path. He withered a fig tree to teach the disciples a lesson. God’s in control and at work around us.
He even uses Balaam with a perverse heart. God knows the evil in Balaam’s heart. His heart is not set on honoring and obeying God and blessing Israel. God using Balaam doesn’t mean Balaam is forgiven or blessed in any way. It just means God can use anyone and anything. He’s going to use Balaam and even his donkey for Israel’s sake. That’s you. You are Israel, grafted in. He will use anybody and anything for your sake. Check out Isaiah 43:4. “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
While God was redirecting Balaam’s path, Balaam got angry, even got hurt. He wanted to get rid of what he thought was the problem. The real problem is our hearts. God is using all these things to redirect our hearts to Him, to keep us on the safe path, the straight and narrow.
When you are getting angry, getting hurt, getting anxious, redirect your focus onto the real battle. Ask God to open your eyes to what He’s up to. Seek Him and desire His will, His good. Surrender to the redirect and make sure your heart is right before Him and towards others.