Through the Eyes of a Donkey

Having recently moved to Tennessee, we’ve done our best to navigate the major changes that have taken place. We traded in our salty air and beaches for the crispness of majestic mountains, our beloved purple and gold for orange and white, baseball caps for cowboy hats, and the list goes on and on. It’s been an adjustment, to say the least.

Here in  Eastern Tennessee, we’re surrounded by a good bit of farmland, rolling hills, and pastures full of beautiful horses and cattle. But one thing we began to notice was that there was at least one donkey in every herd. Never having noticed this before, we asked a friend what this was all about.

Did you know that donkeys are actually very strong and intelligent animals that are fiercely protective? They are stronger than a horse of the exact same size. Independent thinkers, they will reason and make decisions based on their safety. Social animals, they don’t like living on their own, but they don’t have to live with others of their kind either and are happy even among a bunch of goats. They have a calming effect on horses and will nurture a foal after it has left its mother.

All of these characteristics make donkeys perfect for living with horses, cattle, sheep, and goats. They will protect them from the coyotes and other dangerous animals that are waiting to prey on the herd. Donkeys are far more important than I had ever imagined.

Read: Numbers 22:21-34

Donkeys were important in the Bible too. In Numbers, Balaam was going against what God wanted him to do, so an angel of the Lord, with sword in hand, stood in his way on the road. The donkey Balaam was riding saw this angel and turned into a field. He knew that to move forward would mean certain death, but Balaam became angry and ignorantly beat the donkey to get back on the road.

Three times, the angel of the Lord stood in their way; and three times, the donkey saved Balaam’s life by turning. Yet Balaam continued to beat the donkey for it. Finally, God opened Balaam’s eyes to what was in front of him, and he realized that God was angry with him, turned around, and abandoned his journey.

In this case, the donkey was smarter than Balaam. Balaam was so single-minded that he could not see what stood in his way. Just as the donkey protects the cattle on a ranch, so did this donkey protect Balaam even though he beat him over and over again.

Journal: Which one are you, Balaam or the donkey? Explain why.

Are you spiritually aware of what God is speaking into your life? It’s important that we stay rooted in the Word so that we can be more like the donkey and see what God is doing right in front of us. There’s so much He’s trying to say. When we neglect our time with God, we grow indifferent to Him and, in time, become spiritually blind to His direction. Let’s draw close to Him today.

Activation: Maybe you’ve drifted away from God and neglected your time with Him or maybe your time with Him has become stagnant, set aside time each day to read God’s Word, listen to worship music, and pray. Write down something God speaks to you during this time.

Prayer: God, help me be like a donkey. Keep me grounded in Your Word and my eyes and ears open to what you are saying to me. Lead me where you would have me to go and away from places or people that will harm me. Draw me close to You. Amen
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