Wrong is Usually Right


In Numbers 22, after Israel had left Egypt, they make their way to a land called Moab. Before they arrived, Balak, king of Moab was terrified because surely the Israelites were able to conquer his land if they wanted. Balak sent a few of his elders to Balaam who was king of a neighboring land near the Euphrates River. Balak asked Balaam to curse the Israelites to keep them from conquering his territory. When the elders delivered the message to Balaam, God told him not to curse the Israelites and sent the elders away. Balak was persistent and sent wiser elders with more money than before to request that Balaam curse the Israelites. When Balaam consulted God about it, God told him to go to Moab but he must do only what God tells him to do. 

To make the journey to Moab, Balaam mounts his donkey and proceeds along the road with two servants. An angel of the Lord appears in the middle of the road with sword in hand. The donkey sees the angel and goes off course in fear of the angel. Balaam beats the donkey back on track. The donkey still sees the angel and backs into a wall, this time crushing Balaam's ankle and Balaam beats the donkey again to get him back on the road. The donkey is now walking through a narrow place where there's no room to turn left or right, so he lays down underneath Balaam. Balaam beats him a third time with his staff. After this, the donkey opens his mouth and asks "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" Balaam tells the donkey he’s made a fool of him and he would've killed it if he had the right weapon. The donkey reminds Balaam that he's always been faithful and he's never behaved this way.

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?
— Donkey (Numbers 22:30)
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Immediately the angel of the Lord appears to Balaam and he is humbled. The angel tells Balaam that he has appeared because his ways have been reckless and if it had not been for the donkey, he would've perished. Balaam repents and asks the angel what his next move should be. The angel tells him to go to Moab because he had been summoned but he must do only what God tells him to do.


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When things go wrong in our lives we need to learn to assess the situation rather than let our emotions run wild leading us to behave out of anger. God told Balaam that the Israelties were blessed and were not to be cursed. After Balak's persistence, Balaam goes toward Moab but God is not letting him go without a fight. The angel of the Lord's assignment is to kill Balaam. After all, he was going against God's will. The donkey had always been faithful to Balaam. For him to be so stubborn was not normal but it had been for good reason. The donkey went off track three times and each time Balaam just took it as something to be angry about when the donkey going off track was ultimately saving Balaam's life. The angel of the Lord appeared because the path he was living on was "reckless." Balaam going toward Moab knowing his intentions were to have him curse Israel was reckless. Us living our lives opposite of God's will for us is also reckless and God can interrupt our plans if He wills it. We must remain vigilant because a detour in our life can be for our own good. Though the angel of the Lord came to Balaam with intentions to kill him, an unlikely resource ultimately saved his life. Sometimes things in life have to go wrong for us to get it right. Get the message?