Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth. Numbers 22:28
Jack knew how to put trains on the right track. In nine years of work, he never missed a track switch as locomotives drew near the Uitenhage, South Africa, station, indicating by their whistles the direction they were to go.
Jack was also a chacma baboon. He was cared for by railway signalman James Wide, and Jack in turn took care of James. Wide had lost both his legs in a fall between moving rail cars. He trained Jack to help him with tasks around the house and soon Jack assisted him at work also, learning how to respond to the incoming trains’ signals by pulling corresponding levers for their tracks.
The Bible tells of another animal that helped someone in a surprising way—Balaam’s donkey. Balaam was a pagan prophet serving a king who intended to harm Israel. As the prophet was riding his donkey en route to assist the king, “the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth” and it spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22:28). The donkey’s speech was part of the way God opened “Balaam’s eyes” (v. 31), warned him of imminent danger, and kept him from harming His people.
A railway baboon? A talking donkey? Why not? If God can use these amazing animals for good purposes, it’s not at all far-fetched to believe He can use you and me as well. Looking to Him and seeking His strength, we can accomplish more than we ever thought possible.
Whom have you seen God use unexpectedly? What will you do to make yourself available to Him today?
I want to serve You, God! Use my hands, my feet, my mouth, whatever You like! Help me to live for You today.
The book of Numbers records the mercenary exploits of Balaam and how God hijacked his plan to curse His people (see Numbers 22–24). Through another Balaam-devised strategy, however, the children of Israel were led astray (see 31:16). Three times in the New Testament, Balaam’s waywardness and the consequences thereof are used to warn and divert believers in Jesus from unrighteousness. Second Peter 2:15 speaks of “the way of Balaam . . . who loved the wages of wickedness,” Jude 11 notes “Balaam’s error,” and Revelation 2:14 warns of “the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin.”