Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sunday school. Bilaam and his donkey in Numbers 22

Bilaam and his Donkey

Numbers 22:21-35

Bilaam’s Donkey

[Bilaam was a prophet who fell into the role of sabotaging the Israelites after he could not curse them]

21 Bilaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Bilaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Bilaam beat it to get it back on the road.
24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Bilaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.
26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Bilaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Bilaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?
29 Bilaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.
30 The donkey said to Bilaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
31 Then the Lord opened Bilaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.[a] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”
34 Bilaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”
35 The angel of the Lord said to Bilaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Bilaam went with Balak’s officials.


Oh dear Akio-kun, along with your best lawyers Chris, Tom, Joel, and all of you, maybe you could consider a different picture...just imagine for a minute--in some dream world-- that you suddenly woke up to the reality that I am trying to help you avoid the angel of God's wrath (the one from New York) who may soon try to smite you for your recklessness. So far, you have twice taken a legal stick to my head. Maybe...I can imagine it, I can dream of it like a far-off dream... you will beat my head with the stick three times and then you will finally hear me, and then your eyes will open, you will see the angel, and you will repent of your recklessness. Hopefully this will be accomplished before you ask a judge to throw me in jail, and hopefully before New York's wrathful one won't ask to throw you in jail.

With thanks to Rembrandt van Rijn for a beautiful painting,
and to the smart and kind donkey for his good words.