Perhaps the strangest story in the Bible is about Balaam’s donkey. Balaam rode his donkey to curse the Jews on behalf of Balak, the King of Moab, when Israel was about to enter Canaan. The donkey refused to walk normally, and ended up crushing Balaam’s leg against a stone wall. Balaam beat the donkey in rage at this, and the donkey then spoke and said, “Why are you hitting me? Don’t you see that there is an angel with a sword blocking the road?” Balaam tried to curse the Jews, but God forced him to bless the Jews, which he did. Has the proverbial saying come true to the church of God. The donkey has spoken. I have a story from Kenya that recently amazed me.
On Friday November 16, 2012 – one of the leading daily newspapers in Kenya, The Standard ran with the headline –Bishops and Pastors should be vetted – Dr Willy Mutunga. The Kenyan Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga hit out to the men of the cloth saying they should be vetted to curb increasing cases of promiscuity and stealing. He was speaking outside the Supreme Court in Nairobi while admitting 63 advocates to the bar. He said bishops and pastors should be vetted as well to ensure they pass the integrity test. Quoting Chapter Six of the Constitution on Ethics and Integrity of public officers, the Chief Justice said the judiciary should have the mandate to vet the clergy. “Don’t steal from people. Uphold social justice. If you are a member of the funeral committee in your village and you steal that is wrong. The constitution should allow us to vet bishops and pastors,” Dr Mutunga said.
The CJ was angered by pastors and self imposed bishops who steal public money in the name of the lord. He vowed to push for tough legislation for pastors and bishops who steal money in the name of the lord!
Has God ever talked to you through a chicken? Have you ever hear the voice of the Lord from a horse? What would you do if an animal talked to you? The first reaction may be that you are hearing things. The second reaction would be that you are going crazy. The third reaction is denial. The fourth reaction is shock. The final reaction should be to listen. If an animal ever speaks, it is best to listen.
So it is with the Kenyan clergy and christians at large, instead of defending ourselves, it is time to see beyond Mutunga’s words and realise that God is using a very rare means to get to us while we pursue rebellion against God. The christians led by the clergy must repent and simply feel rebuked and go back to the drawing board and seek the face of the Lord afresh. The Bible and the consciences of christians can nolonger function to lead us back to the ways of God. The love of money has taken root and we now see evil everywhere. God has now resorted to using a donkey – The Chief Justice who is not supposed to guide the church to warn us.
Balaam had a firsthand experience with this dilemma. He had a donkey speak to him. Balaam was seeking to go to a place that God did not desire for him to go. The angel of the Lord comes out to meet him. But fortunately, Balaam’s donkey sees the angel standing with a sword waiting to punish Balaam for his disobedience. The Donkey three times refuses to lead Balaam into danger. But three times Balaam beats his donkey for his seemingly disobedience to his commands. Finally, the donkey speaks up. After a brief conversation Balaam is able to see the angel of the Lord standing before him. He is thankful for the loyalty of his donkey.
Will the christians and the clergy in Kenya be thankful that the CJ has been used of God to correct them or will they beat the donkey three times before the angel appears in person to repeat the same message? The angel of the Lord would have killed Balaam for his disobedience. The christians of this land and indeed all others will be destroyed by the wrath of God if they do not listen to the wearning. Holiness without which no man will see God is being demanded from the people who should be preaching it. it means that it is lacking. Balaam realizes that he was disobeying God and his donkey became a hero to him. Will the CJ’s message become a hero to the Christians of Kenya?
God is serious about obedience to him. There always seems to be a battle between the Lord and his people. God desires to exert his will upon us but we want to live by our wills. We desire to be the captain of the ship. But God desires to guide our paths in life. God demands obedience and if we are rebellious to his will he attempts to get the message across to man even in unexpected ways.
God can use animals, people, his own word, and wise counsel, whatever he wants to communicate his will. People may not want to listen to him. But God is trying to communicate with us. We pray for wisdom in James 1:5 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” We believe that wisdom can be given through people, through reading, through meditation, and through even animals. God has the ability to relay his desires to us. If we look for the messages that the Lord is trying to give us, we might learn something.
Many times we can become upset with those who God is using to instruct us or rebuke us because of our disobedient to his will. Most people do not want to listen to God’s instruction that comes through others. Sometimes our pride or our rebellious will comes through to block the message. Instead of looking to see the reason that his donkey was being stubborn, Balaam was simply stubborn himself. He did not look for the will of God, but he took out a stick and he beat his donkey. In fact he did this three times. Many people do not really want to hear the will of the Lord in their lives. People will reject it even if it comes directly from the Bible itself. People will certainly ignorant it if comes from a person or an animal.
We say that God disciplines us because he is treating us like a son in Hebrews 12:5-7 “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”
This is why God has to remind us of our role of obedience to him. Balaam wanted to disobey the Lord. He wanted to practice his will instead of God’s will for him. Balaam was going down a path that God did not accept. Fortunately, there was a donkey there to save him. Will we listen to God’s word even if it comes from the politicians such as the Chief Justice of Kenya. God help us.