How do you know if you are going in the wrong direction or making a wrong decision? Is God able to get your attention? Have you ever “gone over the cliff” and you never had a clue you were close to the edge? Balaam was a prophet in the Old Testament. He was headed in the wrong direction (Num. 22). God used his donkey to try to tell him. Balaam was too hardheaded to listen and he finally lost his life. I have seen four ways God uses people to warn me that I am moving in a wrong direction. If you don’t read on, you may be close to the cliff and not even know it!
The donkey in the story did four things that people also do who are trying to warn you of a wrong direction:
1. He “left the way”
- As the donkey carried Balaam on the way, an angel (visible to the donkey but invisible to Balaam) stood in his way with his sword drawn. The donkey “turned aside into a field” and Balaam struck him.
- People who love you (it may be your spouse or a good friend) can sometimes see things you can’t see. When that happens, they simply start to “leave the way.” They withdraw from your company and become distant and aloof. They don’t know how to tell you what they see.
2. He “pressed Balaam’s foot against a wall”
- The second time the angel stood in front of him, the angel turned into a wall and pinned Balaam’s foot against the wall. Balaam struck him again!
- When a person who loves you becomes more and more concerned for your direction, they will try to find a situation to put pressure on you to change.
- They will allow the pain of your circumstances to fall upon you (financial, physical, stress, etc.) in hopes that that pain will get your attention and change you. If you still don’t listen, they will do the third thing:
3. He “sat down under Balaam”
- In a very narrow place, with no place to turn, the donkey finally just “sat down.” He had gone as far as he would go and had run out of options.
- People run out of options. In a marriage, in a business, in a family, they run out of options. They have withdrawn and allowed pressure but to no avail. Now, they just shut completely down.
- Don’t allow a spouse or good friend to get here. They have become hopeless that you will ever change and could exit the relationship at any time.
4. He “spoke to Balaam”!
- Finally, God opened his mouth and the donkey talked! He released all his frustration and reminded Balaam that he had been faithful to him his whole life (the crazy thing is Balaam answered him!).
- The last resort your friend or spouse has is to appeal to you with an ultimatum. They will appeal to you one last time, describing their love and their friendship over many years. They love you and have stayed at your side…but you are going in a wrong direction.
Pay attention to your friends. They love you. They have faithfully served you. They want you to succeed. You may be making some wrong decisions that you are fully convinced are right. Pay attention to their withdrawal, their watching your pain, their refusal to go any further and their final appeal.
Listen to your donkey…and save your life.
QUESTION: What has God used in your life to help rescue you from an awful decision? Who did he use to help that happen?
Leave a comment on the blog to help others who may need a “donkey” right now!