To my loyal reader, I am sorry. Yesterday I was rather tired and could not muster the energy and enthusiasm to blog. It has nothing to do with England’s exit from the World Cup at the hands of Germany. And it’s nothing to do with the goal that was not given that may have changed the result. A friend has sent me a photo that proves the ball did not go over the line.
I think the reason I was unable to gird my creative loins yesterday may be something to do with the warm weather. I think it may also be that I overdid things on Sunday. I preached in our church for the first time since before the operation and it felt quite an ordeal. I struggled to feel like I was connecting with people. The words were coming out of my mouth but I did not feel like I was communicating. It’s not often that happens, but I don’t like it when it does.
I do find, however, that on those occasions God still manages to say something helpful to someone despite me. I reckon it’s a bit like Balaam and his donkey. Balaam was an Old Testament prophet who (like Jonah) disobeyed God and did his own thing…
Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him.
Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff.
Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” The donkey said to Balaam, “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?”
“No,” he said.
Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell face down. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”
Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”
If God can speak to someone through a donkey, he can do so through me, through you, through anyone and anything. The corollary of that is that we need to keep our spiritual eyes and ears open to receive what he may be saying to us.
A man bought a donkey from a preacher. The preacher told the man that this donkey had been trained in a very unique way, (being the donkey of a preacher). The only way to make the donkey go, was to say, “Hallelujah!” The only way to make the donkey stop, was to say, “Amen!”
The man was pleased with his purchase and immediately got on the animal to try out the preacher’s instructions. “Hallelujah!” shouted the man. The donkey began to trot. “Amen!” shouted the man. The donkey stopped immediately. “This is great!” said the man. With a “Hallelujah,” he rode off very proud of his new purchase.
The man traveled for a long time through some mountains. Soon he was heading toward a cliff. He could not remember the word to make the donkey stop. “Stop,” said the man. “Halt!” he cried. The donkey just kept going. “Oh, no… Bible!….Church!…Please Stop!!” shouted the man. The donkey just began to trot faster. He was getting closer and closer to the cliff edge. Finally, in desperation, the man said a prayer. “Please, dear Lord. Please make this donkey stop before I go off the end of this mountain, In Jesus name, AMEN.”
The donkey came to an abrupt stop just one step from the edge of the cliff.
“HALLELUJAH!”, shouted the man.