God enabled a donkey to speak to Balaam the prophet. Balaam was hired by the enemies of Israel to pronounce a curse upon the entire nation. Against the Lord’s commandment, Balaam accepted the job and travelled by donkey to the camp of the Israelites. Balaam’s disobedience angered God. He sent His angel to stand in the path that Balaam was traveling. In Numbers 22 we read how God opened the mouth of the donkey to speak and protest the cruel treatment of its master.
God used Saul’s father’s missing donkeys to connect Saul to his destiny and purpose (1 Sam 9-10). In 1 Kings 13 we read how He spared a donkey from being killed by a lion when a prophet disobeyed His instructions not to stay and eat. And in the most unforgettable donkey event ever, Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem. (Mark 11:1-11)
Why donkeys? A simple reasoning could be that donkeys were widely available and used in Bible times. Although I think the real deal is that God can and will use anything to get your attention, connect you to your destiny, clarify your purpose and discipline you if need be. I also think that a prayer here is Father do not let me kick against what you have sent and are using to get me where I need to be. Open my eyes to see you, open my ears to hear you and let my heart be open to receive instructions from you.
In 1 Samuel 9 Saul’s father’s donkeys had gotten lost. For the donkeys to be lost, it meant for starters, they were not where they were meant to be. Someone had tried looking for them and couldn’t find them. That person(s) had reported back to the CEO of the Kish Family, the donkeys are missing! The account books are not balanced! We are declaring a loss. There is no profit in this season. Things are not as they should be. So, CEO dad says to his son – Saul, take one of the employees with you and get to the bottom of this loss. And so, the journey began.
They travelled through Ephraim, Shalisha, Shaalim, Benjamin and when they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to his dad’s employee (paraphrased of course). “We got to stop now or dad will stop thinking of the company loss and start worrying about our well-being and safety.
Saul was ready to terminate the search but thank God for grace. Thank God for the right word at the right time. Thank God for divine assistance. Just as they reached the 5th town of Zuph, grace kicks in. 5 is the number for grace. The servant or employee who has been recorded as saying nothing since the journey began, spoke! He brought his knowledge to bear on a knotty solution. “There’s a man of God in this town, highly respected, everything he says comes to pass. Let’s go there now perhaps he will give us direction”
Thank you, Father, because grace brings us to you. We have come to the end of ourselves and we need you. Hebrews 14:16 says Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may find grace to help us in our time of need.
There is a man of God in this town said the servant. Paul said in Hebrew 4:14 -15 we have a great high priest. The man of God we have is God himself. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into the heaven Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are – yet he did not sin.” We have a high priest, a man of God who can relate to every situation that we find ourselves.
Back to the missing donkeys’ saga or the story of the unreconciled accounts. If we go to this man of God, Saul said, we have nothing to give him. No gifts to take, we have exhausted our supply of food. Saul was referencing what every Jewish person knew, you do not appear before the Lord empty handed or come to enquire of the man of God without bearing gifts. Don’t worry said this servant dedicated to the cause. Here’s a shekel of silver. Here’s my money, I’d gladly give it to the cause. I will spend my essence to make sure this project is successful.
Oh! the inestimable value of the committed employee or the dedicated staff! The strength infusing quality of people who buy into your vision or the dream you are trying to build! Whether you are aiming to build a ministry or a business, or anything which requires you to work with someone, pray and ask the Father to send you helpers that would be committed to the dream or cause.
With the gift sorted, they turned to locate where the man of God lived. Little did they know God had already spoken to Samuel about their mission. By the time the story is over, the donkeys are found and Saul is anointed King. What started as a mundane or menial event was much bigger and more important than it appeared! What started as a loss and fear story ended up as a promotion for Saul and his whole family.
As with Saul, your own lost donkeys experience, could be a blessing in disguise. The real purpose behind the search for the donkeys was concealed and became revealed at the right time – it was for the anointing of Saul as king over Israel!
So, to answer the question why donkeys? It’s simple really, donkeys like anything else including pain and loss are merely tools. Romans 8:28 spells it out for us “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Some underlying purpose are revealed on this side of heaven, some reasons, we will never know until we get to Heaven but we can be sure that because God is infinitely good, all things are working and will work for our good.
Thanks for reading.