Donkey or Diviner

>> Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, a young man scooted a chair up close to me.  It was clear he wanted some attention.  He'd never done that with me before so I stopped what I was doing.  For some reason, he eyed the map that is on the wall behind my desk.  He pointed out where a friend of his lives, a friend that he knows online, probably from a game.  Anyway, he pointed out Iran or somewhere in that area.  I was feeling especially lonely and missing my very best friend, so I stood up and pointed out just how far away Mari lives from me.  I pointed out Illinois and then I took my arm and swept it clear to the left of the map until I noticed I had left the United States a foot before.  Wow.  

I was looking at a world map, not a U.S. one.  It put a whole new perspective to how far away she is.  On my U.S. map at home, she's at the very edge of the universe, in Washington State.  A lifetime away from me until I check out the world.  Then I see it's not really that far.  A mere 2,000 miles compared to another continent, that's nothing.  It's a five hour plane ride. It's a phone call or text away.  Even closer when we have the web cam up and going.

It's all a matter of perspective.  

But...sometimes we don't see what we should. In the B90X reading on day 12, we learn about Balaam and his quite famous donkey.  

Some men had come to Balaam because they wanted the Israelites cursed. God spoke to Balaam and said, "You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed." (Num. 22:12 NIV)

Balaam told the men the Lord wouldn't let him go.  Soon they came back with even more men to 'persuade' this diviner (a man who attempts to gain insight into a question or situation by way of a standardized process or ritual, often considered witchcraft.)  Well, long story short, God allowed him to go.

The next morning they set out on the journey.  Balaam had his trusted donkey with him and they went along quite nicely until the pesky animal went off the path into a field.  Another time he crushed Balaam's foot against a wall.  The last time, there was no where for the donkey to turn so he laid down in the path.  Balaam was spitting mad each time and beat the beast.  Or the beast beat the animal.  Whichever way you want to phrase it.

At long last, the donkey got to have his say, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?"

The donkey spoke and Balaam answered.  What's up with that?  “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

The donkey said to Balaam, “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?”

 “No,” he said.

"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." (Num 22-28-31)

His trusted donkey saved him from an angel of the Lord that was in the road with a sword. The animal saw what was going on. He looked at the world with clear eyes, not clouded by the thought of money or fame and prestige, as Balaam's was.  The donkey even continued to act on what was unseen by man even though he was beaten several times.  I think I would have had much more to say to Balaam than this donkey did, and it wouldn't have been pretty, for sure.  (Actually, when I read on, in Numbers 31, Balaam gets killed when the Israelites take vengeance on the Midianites. I wonder how the donkey fared? hmmmm....)

We have to live by faith and not sight. (2 Cor 5:7) Faith reminds us that God is with us. He is leading the way, when we let Him, that is.  We need to look to God first and last and in between.  Our perspective should line up with God's for us.  It's all in how we look at our situation.  We can cringe and cry and wring our hands or we can run to God, ask Him for answers and listen to Him and act according to what He says.  

Quite often we have someone or something stop and knock some sense into us, much like Balaam's donkey.  I'm thankful for those brave souls.  I hope and pray that if God tells me to point something out to a friend, that I will be willing to do it, too.  Hopefully no beating is involved!

Let's keep our perspective right.  Spit shine those glasses so you aren't seeing cross-eyed and always remember to, "Walk by faith, not by sight."  Let's strive to be more like the donkey than the diviner.

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