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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tales of 2 donkeys

Donkeys were very common and useful animals in the Bible - they were also rather special. In more than one instance, God used donkeys for unique assignments. There are several lessons we can learn from each donkey-tale; for now, we'll focus on 2 of the tales:

# 1: In Numbers 22, Balaam (a prophet of God) was preserved from destruction by his donkey. Balaam was so angry with donkey that he even threatened to kill it. In response, God let the donkey speak and then opened Balaam's eyes. I wonder how that donkey felt after that episode. Pretty important I guess. I can even imagine how nicely Balaam may have treated the donkey later. The donkey would have felt on top of the world - it had done the impossible - it may have even had an attitude around the other donkeys. Read the last sentence again because therein lies the beginning of a lesson: Sadly, some of us may be like the donkey in that, after God uses us, we start to consider ourselves more important & useful than others... and that is a mistake. I'll talk more about this later.

Pastor EA Adeboye put this in  a different perspective - when he said something like: 
"If you're happy that God speaks through you, beware because you may be a donkey." 
In life, it's always better to be/remain humble than to be humilated - ask Nebuchadnezzar*

Let's move to the second donkey and then I'll share some of the lessons from that tale too:

#2: The second donkey-on-a-mission was the one Jesus rode into Jerusalem in Luke 19.** I like the way my husband puts it: he says the donkey must have felt really important that people were removing their cloaks, spreading them on the road for it to walk on. It may have not realized that all the attention & acclamation was for the Person riding it - until He dismounted nor heard when the disciples told its owner "the Lord needed it."**

The common morale of both stories is succinctly captured by Brother Paul in Rom 12:3: 
"For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to Him." (Amplified)

Another lesson is we need to be submitted to God if we want to have access to things and places. Psalm 24 starts by telling us that "The earth and everything it contains are the Lord's. The world and all who live in it are His."*** After talking about how to gain access to God, verses 7-9 instruct gates to make way for the King of glory. Being in the service of the Lord (as the donkey was) means that we'll have access to places and things we would never have attained by ourselves. To gain & enjoy such access, remember the first moral of both tales: We must be & remain humble - before & after God uses us because God resists the proud.**** Noone can't go far when God resists them.

My desire this year is to be available for God's use. Being with Him will grant me access to places and positions I could never reach on my own. I plan on being a "donkey" - and you?

* Daniel 4
** Luke 19:28-40
*** Ps 24: 1 - God's Word Translation
**** James 4:6b and 1 Peter 5:5b “God works against the proud but gives loving-favor to those who have no pride.” (New Life Version)

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