With this painting, I tried an animal for the first time. Also making the background in three pieces instead of all together. I’m hoping it gives a bit of interest. This is based on the donkey at our local petting park. On to the thought. . .
The people of Israel were preparing to enter the Promised Land, finally, after 40 years of wandering in the desert. Balak was fearful because they were passing through his land. He had seen what the Israelites had done to others so he sent for Balaam, who evidently was known as a man who could bless and curse people.
Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites. God told Balaam not to go, and it seemed like Balaam was trying to do what God wanted and refused to go, the first time. When Balak asked again, God told Balaam to go ahead, but only say what I tell you to say. On the way, the angel of the Lord blocked his way three times, and his donkey balked all three times. Balaam beat his donkey, then she spoke to him in Numbers 22, verses 28 and 30. Balaam then saw the angel of the Lord, too, and He told Balaam to go on, but only speak what He told him to.
Because God wouldn’t let Balaam curse the Israelite people, he blessed them instead - three times - and this aroused the anger of Balak. So much so that he didn’t honor (or give the reward to) Balaam like he said he would. The story can be found in Numbers 22-24.
This could be the flip side of the thought for Water From A Rock. What Balaam was showing was not what was happening inside. It looked like Balaam was following God, but he had come up with another way to help Balak defeat the Israelites (and get the promised reward). Numbers 31:16 tells us that it was Balaam that had the idea of how to cause the Israelite people to sin in Numbers 25. Balaam is even referenced in the New Testament. Jude 11 and 2 Peter 2:15-16 tell of his greed and warn us to not be like him.
Where are we like Balaam? Do we try to look good on the outside but inside are harboring greed or (fill in the blank)?