Mark Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC and also the author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. As a church planter and pastor, he shared with us the unique story of the talking doney in Numbers 22.
It’s an unusual passage, and as Mark shared his own journey with us of a failed church plant attempt in Chicago (a project for which he got an A on his plans for it in seminary), he pointed out that many times, we head out in a direction with our plans rather than God’s plans. We may be going in the right direction but have the wrong intent.
In Numbers 22:30, the donkey is the rational one in the passage, having endured three beatings. Up to this point in the passage, the donkey is the only one to have seen the angel in the way.
Mark pointed out that we like “open doors” more than closed doors, but the closed doors are more significant. It was the angel of the Lord that kept closing the path forward… but strange… God told Balaam to go in the first place.
Sometimes, God gets in our way to show us His way.
God wants you to get where He wants you to go more than you want to get where He wants you to go. Batterson urged us to consider how our plans may be interrupted by God’s better plans. Don’t get discouraged when what you have in mind doesn’t fall into place. Trust that the Lord is up to something that you may not be able to perceive.
In the end, God wanted Balaam to bless, and not curse His people.
Perhaps a better moral would be: Don’t be so quick to mistreat the smart asses in your life. They may be seeing more than you are.