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Balaam and his donkey

Balaam's donkey misbehaves then speaks to him.
Contributed by Jack Foster
One day Balak, the king of Moab, saw the Israelites camped near his territory. He was terrified! He knew that the Israelites had destroyed anyone that stood between them and the Promised Land. The King had heard of a powerful man named Balaam who claimed to be able to bless and curse people, so he sent his messengers to fetch him to curse the Israelites. – Slide 1
When the messengers arrived at Balaam’s house, they explained that King Balak would pay him a lot of money to come and curse the Israelites. However, that night, God spoke to Balaam and told him not to go, as He had chosen the Israelites as His people and He had blessed them. So Balaam refused to go and they had to return to Moab without him. – Slide 2
Balak refused to give up and sent another group of officials to get Balaam, and this time God let him go with them. Balaam set off on his donkey for Moab with the officials. As they went along the road, the donkey suddenly bolted into a field. – Slide 3
An angry Balaam grabbed a branch and beat the donkey. Then he continued on his journey. – Slide 4
They reached a point where the road narrowed and there were walls on both sides. The donkey suddenly startled and crashed into the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot. Ouch! – Slide 5
Balaam was furious and felt humiliated in front of the King’s officials. So he beat his donkey again. Then they continued on their journey. – Slide 6
Suddenly the donkey stopped and just lay down on the ground. ‘Why are you embarrassing me in front of the king’s officials?’ Balaam ranted. ‘You stupid donkey! If I had a sword I would kill you!’ He started beating the donkey again. – Slide 7
To Balaam’s shock, the donkey suddenly spoke to him. ‘Haven’t I been faithful to you all these years? Haven’t I always done as you asked and wasn’t I always ready whenever you needed to go somewhere? – Slide 8
‘Do you think that I would embarrass you on purpose without reason? Have I ever done anything like this before?’<br/>‘No,’ a startled Balaam replied. – Slide 9
Then God opened Balaam’s eyes to see what the donkey been seeing. It was an angel of God standing in the road wielding a large sword! ‘Why did you beat your donkey three times?’ the angel asked. ‘He saved your life! I would have killed you if you had continued on your way.’ The angel then told Balaam he could go to King Balek, but he must only speak what God told him to say. – Slide 10
When Balaam saw King Balak he insisted, ‘I can only do what God tells me to do and speak what He tells me to speak.’ Balak took him to the top of Mount Bamothbaal, overlooking the Israelites, where Balaam offered sacrifices on seven altars. – Slide 11
But when Balaam told Balak what God had said, the king was not pleased. God had told Balaam that the Israelites were His chosen people and that they were set apart for God’s purposes. The Israelites would become more numerous than the stars in the sky.<br/>King Balak turned bright red! ‘I asked you to curse my enemies and you blessed them instead!’<br/>‘I told you that I can only speak what God wants me to speak.’ Balaam replied. – Slide 12
King Balak took Balaam to another place where we could see about half of the Israelites. ‘At least curse half of my enemies,’ King Balak insisted. But again God told Balaam to bless the Israelites and he did. The king was furious. – Slide 13
So the king took Balaam to a third high spot, but the same thing happened. King Balak shouted. ‘I asked you to curse my enemies three times, but you have blessed them instead! Get out of here! I am not going to pay you anything! God has just stopped you from becoming a very rich man!’ – Slide 14
‘Even if you gave me all the gold and silver in your kingdom, I could only say what God wanted me to say, Balaam replied. ‘We will go now, but God wants me to tell you the Israelites will conquer many nations on their way to the promised land – including yours. The nations will be destroyed by God’s mighty hand!’ Then Balaam and his donkey returned home. Balaam was right. The Israelites won one battle after another on their way to the Promised Land. – Slide 15
Further Bible stories can be found at http://mrbiblehead.blogspot.com. – Slide 16