Because the Bible is never ending in its ability to influence and affect us and we can see that
when we examine it through the lens of our own experiences, then we also recognize that it
comes alive for us in a whole new ways. That’s been our experience with the story of Balaam
and the donkey that shall forever be known to me as “Clive.”
Balaam had FOMO. BAD. Balaam cared more about FOMO than he did about listening to the
source of his true power to “Bless and Curse”… God. So, Balaam chose to meet his own needs
from a place of fear rather than faith which then cut off his ability to receive any more blessing
himself from God. Insufficiency produces only more insufficiency. Sufficiency produces
abundance. Enough always leads to more.
Because we serve a merciful God, God will often do for us what we cannot do for ourselves
when we want to take the long prodigal’s walk home. This is one such example. God’s Grace
was big enough that not only did he not kill Balaam for beating his donkey-Clive and being a
serious spiritual jerk face. He actually provides a way for Balaam to meet his own needs from a
place of obedience and sufficiency. Enough-ness based on partnership with God.
God tells Balaam not to curse Israel but to bless them. Balaam has just gotten a preview “come
to Jesus moment” with the angel and Clive as you will recall so he is in a renewed place of
attention to detail in the affirmative. He blesses Israel. And he is blessed.
But that is not the end of the story. Nope. It is not that simple. I mean he STILL had to look at
Clive every day for the rest of Clive’s life. Now the Bible isn’t clear about the rest of their
relationship or if and when Clive’s vocal abnormalities wore off…but imagine how you’d feel if
your donkey had been the only witness to an angel saying he’d prefer to cut your head off for
being a spiritual jerk face. I bet Balaam treated that donkey pretty well after that. And Clive, he
got to know that God cares enough about creation to make sure that every need on the block
gets met. And my personal favorite part of the story—Clive the talking donkey got to become
an archetype in the Kingdom of Heaven by telling his disobedient, greedy, spiritual jerk face
owner where to get off.
Balaam rode Clive off into the sunset with a learned perspective on obedience, compassion and
more-than-enough-ness. As you continue the story of Balaam in Scripture, you’ll find that even
after all that grace and learning, he continues to have many lessons from God. Sound familiar?