Numbers 22-24 – Better Than a Talking Donkey

When you read Numbers chapters 22-24, it’s easy to just zero in on the talking donkey story. And why wouldn’t you?! It’s big, unusual, and supernatural! The rest of the text is just a lot of talking, urging, pleading, and manipulating. That kind of stuff happens all the time.

I think that is exactly the point of the story.

Isn’t it funny that we will rabidly search for dramatic and supernatural signs from God while ignoring the simple and clear “God answers” right in front of us? And this is especially true if the answer right in front of us is “NO.” 

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Numbers 20 – Swinging at Rocks

If you’ve ever had trouble following directions, you can relate to Moses. There was a specific time in Moses’ life when failing to follow God’s directions cost him dearly.

In Numbers chapter 20, God tells Moses to gather everyone in front of a rock and speak to the rock, that it might provide water for the grumbling Israelites. But rather than speaking to the rock, Moses strikes the rock with his staff. Because of this, Moses was not permitted to enter into the Promised Land.

You may be thinking, “What’s so bad about striking the rock?” There’s two problems with it:

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Numbers 9 – Unquestioning Obedience

When I was a child, “because I said so” never felt like a good reason to comply. That’s because there’s something in us that resists being told what to do. We would rather give the orders, than take them.

But that’s not the message of Numbers chapter 9. There, you find a picture of immediate and unquestioning obedience. When the cloud moved, the people moved; no questions asked.

Can you imagine what that would be like? You hear a knock on your door. You open the door and see a man with a clipboard who says, “It’s time.” So you pack up your entire household and set out. Twelve hours later, you pull in somewhere at the man’s direction. It appears you’ve arrived, so you unpack and set up house.

After a week or so, you’ve finally settled in and have things where you can find them. Then one Saturday morning, there’s a knock on your door. You open the door and see the same man with the same clip board who tells you, “It’s time.” So once again, you begin to pack things up and load them in the truck.

This routine continues…for the rest of your life! Sometimes you get to stay for a long time, and sometimes you just get to stay for the night. And you never know when you’re going to hear the knock on the door and face the man with the clip board saying, “It’s time.”

Can you imagine the obedience this would take? I’d like to say my life is characterized by such obedience, but I know better.

The key to such obedience is becoming convinced that obeying God…because He said so…is more beneficial that anything else you can do. (Deut. 6:3) When you become convinced of this, “because I said so,” will be enough for you.