Saved by a Donkey

by Danielle Ayers Jones based on Numbers 22

"Get back on the road!" Balaam shouted. He pushed his donkey out of the field and back onto the path. Balaam was on his way to meet a king, and he couldn't be late.

"Ouch!" Balaam yelled. The donkey had squeezed Balaam's foot against a vineyard wall. It hurt! Balaam became even angrier and smacked his donkey with his riding stick.

But after going just a few more feet, the donkey suddenly stopped.

"Move!" Balaam commanded.

Instead, his donkey just plopped down in the middle of the road. Balaam couldn't believe it. What is wrong with my donkey? he thought.

"Get up!" he shouted, smacking his donkey again. "Get up!"

Suddenly, Balaam's donkey opened their mouth and spoke with human words!

"Why are you hitting me?" she said, looking at Balaam with her big brown eyes.

Balaam stared back. "You are ma-making me look s-s-silly," he said.

Balaam was traveling with the king's men who had been sent to get him. Balaam was supposed to curse the Israelites. But the Israelites were God's special people. God told Balaam to go with the men but to bless the Israelites instead.

Still, Balaam couldn't help but think about all the money the king had promised to pay him if he cursed the Israelites. Extra money would be nice, he thought. I could finally buy a stylish tunic. Or maybe trade in my donkey for a strong, fast horse.

Now Balaam stood here with his very own donkey talking to him,

Just then, God allowed Balaam to see what he couldn't see before: A shining angel stood in the road right in front of his donkey. The angel held a large, gleaming sword.

"Why have you hit your donkey?" God's angel asked. Before Balaam could answer, the angel went on: "I have come to tell you your heart is not right. You are concerned about honor and money, not about obeying God's voice. I came to punish you, but your donkey saved your life by stopping when she did!"

Balaam hung his head. "I am sorry for not obeying God. If you want me to turn back and not go with the king's men, I will."

"No," the angel said. "You may continue on your journey, but make sure you speak only the words God tells you."

This time, Balaam obeyed God all the way. And he decided to never trade in his donkey for a strong, fast horse.

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. magazine. Copyright © 2010 Danielle Ayers Jones. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.