After nearly 40 years spent journeying to the Promised Land of Canaan, the reputation of the Israelites preceded them. The king of Moab, Balak, feared the approach of God’s people, so he sent a man named Balaam to curse them. Balak promised Balaam a lot of money to do so, and Balaam got on a donkey and went out to find the Israelites.
Along the way, an angel with a sword appeared in the road. At first, Balaam could not see the angel, but his donkey did. The donkey’s front legs buckled, and no matter how hard Balaam tried getting him to go, the donkey would not.
Balaam became furious and beat the donkey with his staff until, strangely, the donkey spoke to him: “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” (Numbers 22:28)
Even more strangely, it didn’t seem at all odd to Balaam that his donkey was talking to him. He answered the donkey: “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” (Numbers 22:29)
The donkey then reminded 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?” (Numbers 22:30)
The angel then revealed himself to Balaam and said:
Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.” Numbers 22:32,33
Balaam then admitted that he’d sinned, and the angel allowed him to go. He returned to Balak and spoke the words the Lord put in his mouth, that the Israelites would not be stopped, for they were blessed by the Lord.
We should never forget that God protects his own. Though your animals may not speak to you or angels with swords appear to your enemies, rest assured that the Lord’s hand is interceding on your behalf. And like Balaam explained to Balak, no earthly force can stop those who have the Lord on their side!