Volume. XIX, No. 11
Sunday, 12 September 2004

Donkeys Gods chosen Servants

“But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with a man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet” (2 Peter 2:16) {and is translated in the NKJV as “but he (Balaam) was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.”}

Donkeys or asses are generally called as beasts of burden. They have been used in ancient Middle East and in many other countries to transport goods and also human beings. The use of donkeys has been mentioned scores of times in the Bible as “vehicles” of transport. Kings, Prophets, Priests and common people rode on donkeys. The King of Kings also rode on a donkey during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

The Scripture verse quoted above talks about a Prophet named Balaam who was restrained of his madness when his donkey started to speak. This is a very familiar passage in the Old Testament (Numbers 22:21-35). The reason that prompted me to write about Balaam and donkeys is because I’ve been listening to an amusing ballad on Balaam, composed by one notable Christian singer named Don Francisco who has composed ballads on many Biblical themes.

Balaam was a prophet in Mesopotamia, who performed divinations for monetary gain. He was summoned by Balak, King of Moab to curse the Israelites and was assured of a good sum of money in return. But God forbade him to go to Balak. However, Balaam’s heart was filled with greed and prayed a hypocritical prayer to God. So God gave him up to his lust, but being the Sovereign God, He commanded Balaam to speak only what the Lord would tell Him to speak. So Balaam eagerly set out to go to Balak, riding on his donkey, hoping that he could make good money in this venture. But in the middle of His trip the Angel of the Lord encountered him with a sword in His hand. Balaam being spiritually blind could not see him, however his donkey did. God caused his donkey to be more human than her master and so she tried to avoid crossing the Angel’s path and in doing so nearly threw off Balaam. It did this three times which caused Balaam to get annoyed with her and he struck the donkey those three times. Then God caused the donkey to speak in a human voice. She rebuked Balaam for striking her and tried to justify her actions. Then God opened Balaam’s eyes to see the Angel with the sword in His hand, and the Angel told Balaam that his ways were perverse in His eyes, and He wanted to strike Balaam, but his donkey saved his life. Balaam then repented saying that he had sinned, and he told the angel that he would go back to his home. But the Angel warned him very severely this time and commanded him to go to Balak and speak only words of blessing to Israel.

In this passage God uses a literal donkey as His servant to teach Balaam a prophet, a lesson. However there are many instances in which God uses other kinds of donkeys as His servants to teach His people lessons, when they strayed away. One very notable donkey, was a Babylonian donkey a very mighty donkey – Nebuchadnezzar the great. He was God’s choicest servant to teach Judah a very severe lesson.

After Nebuchadnezzar’s army destroyed Babylon and took all people captive, one of his guards had this to say about God’s people – “...The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you.” (Jeremiah 40:2,3).

Another great donkey was Pharaoh Necho King of Egypt who was used by God. He went to fight against the Assyrians in the great battle of Carchemish by the river Euphrates. This happened during the reign of one of the godliest King of Judah, King Josiah. But even this godly man became puffed up with pride and went to fight against Pharaoh Necho, not realising that God was using Pharaoh Necho to fight against the Assyrians. When this donkey opened his mouth to tell Josiah that he was not fighting against him but rather at God’s command going to fight against the Assyrians, Josiah did not listen to his words, which were from God. He presumed that God would fight for him against the Egyptians. But that was not to be so. And so very sadly King Josiah died in this battle. (See 2 Chronicles 35:20-24).

There was one very benign donkey, which God used to deliver the Jews after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. He was Cyrus the great. God touched the heart of this very noble King of Persia and put it in his mind to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. He therefore allowed the Jews to return back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple and settle there. (See 2 Chronicles 36:22-23)

The New Testament also mentions about donkeys who can be used by God as His servants to reprove believers. In Romans 13:1-5, Paul tells believers to be subject to the state governing authorities, as they are ministers of God for us, for our good. Even though they may not know God they are being used as donkeys by God. Paul says in Romans 2:14,15 that when unbelievers even though not knowing God, still have God’s laws written in their hearts and their conscience can convict them concerning the right and wrong things. And it can thus be very shameful for a believer to be reproved by an unbeliever. But we see this happening in today’s world just as it has been happening in earlier days. Paul had to reprove the Corinthian Church because believers had lawsuits against one another and were taking them to courts to be judged by unbelievers. (1Cor 6:5,6). We see the same things happening today among Christians. Christians are taking other Christians to court to be judged by donkeys! We find that the moral standards amongst many unbelievers and people of other religions to be much higher than many Christians, when it should be the other way around!

So something needs to be done. We need to stop behaving like monkeys and humble ourselves like the lowly donkey. Let us be donkeys for Christ. Submitting ourselves to God, let us say to Him – Lord, here I am, your donkey. Do with me what you want. Let me carry whatever load you put on my back and whosever load it may be and let me go wherever You take me or send me. If I get stubborn then beat me with your stick.

Donkey Edwin

Apologies to Dn. David Yeo from the Editorial Committee
The following text was inadvertently omitted from Dn. David Yeo’s Article in
The Lively Hope Vol. XIX, No. 10 (5 Sept, 2004)

When I was approached by Pastor Ki and Elder Michael Lee to join session as a Deacon, my first reaction was discomfort, lethargy and doubts aplenty (that my second name might as well be Thomas) about myself. I now know that I will have the Lord’s strength to run this race. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

I pray as I serve in this role as Deacon that, “ He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30. I ask for your patience, encouragement and prayers as I submit myself humbly to serve God and Hope Bible Presbyterian Church.

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 66: What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment? The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.

Please pray for healing for Rev Peter Clements & Bro Surish Dharmalingam, Sisters Myung Ki, Aranka Rejtoe, Irene Turner, Susan Varadi, Nan van Buuren & Angie Yuen, and many afflicted by viral illness. “ Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust” (Ps 16:1).

Please pray for comfort for the loved ones of Bro Kosal (one of Rev Moses Hahn’s school teachers) murdered in Ottawao School, Paillin, Cambodia; for provision of needs and protection for missionaries, Bible teachers & students, and believers in Cambodia; for our Missions Team’s preparation for Cambodia in January 2005; and for journey mercies for Rev & Mrs Edward Paauwe (Australia), Dn & Mrs Ngie Joo Gong (Canada), Mr & Mrs Ray Price (Perth & Europe), and Sis Rachel Volvricht (Ireland to Adelaide).

Praise and thank God for journey mercies granted to Dn & Mrs Ngie Joo Gong (Canada & Alaska), Mr and Mrs Ray Price (Perth), and others who have travelled recently; and for the recovery of Sis Peggy Kingham.

Materials for the “Homosexuality and the Bible Seminar” will cost $10.00.

New term for BBK classes will commence from 3 October. Those who had completed their BBK classes and desire baptism/church membership, please discuss with Ps Ki ASAP.

Rosters for Oct-Dec are being prepared - Please let Dn Edwin D’Mello know of your willingness & availability to serve the Lord in the next quarter.

Looking Ahead: YAF and Teens’ Coffee Night: Friday, 24 Sept. As this is an evangelistic event, please invite your friends to attend.

Looking Ahead: Vacation Bible School: 27 Sept-1 Oct. Speaker: Bro Hai Seng Lim. Helpers are requested to attend a meeting after the Worship Service today.

Looking Ahead: Christmas Concert: Saturday, 11 December. Venue: Concordia College Chapel, Highgate.



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