His donkey showed him! Balaam discovered he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was. His loyal donkey saw the angel of the Lord three times (Numbers 22), saved Balaam from certain death, and then God opened the donkey’s mouth and he spoke to Balaam in words Balaam understood. And what’s even more startling, Balaam talked back to him!
Yes, God created man in His own image, but do you ever wonder if the plant and animal kingdoms have an inside scoop on connection with God? “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12).
Have you ever watched a baby smile and coo as their gaze seems fixed on something you and I can’t see? “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” (Matthew 21:16).
Due to a surgical mishap at the age of three, my brother is a forever non-verbal three-year-old trapped in what is now a sixty-five-year-old body. As I watch Billy stare at an elevation beyond me, smile, laugh, and clap his hands, I often question, “What does he see that I cannot see? Is it something or someone in the spiritual realm?” “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
All four gospels give the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly’” (Mark 11:3). Upon arrival, as Jesus slides off the back of the little donkey, He gives it a pat on the rump and whispers, “Thanks, you may go back home now.” The donkey ambles through the noisy crowd, his heart smiling, and finds his way home, knowing all the while that he has just given the King of all kings a humble ride.
We can learn a lot from children, nature, and yes, even a donkey—things like trust, innocence, dependency, simple faith, unconditional love, obedience, and a clear path to God, our Creator. “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15).