This Week's Story

God gives speech to a donkey and controls the tongue of a sneaky prophet.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

A Strange Story part one

Balaam had no trouble getting a job. He was famous for pronouncing curses and blessings and having them come true. Perhaps it was exaggeration.

People called Balaam a prophet. He was not a Jewish prophet, but he knew something about how God had worked with the Jews. He was supposed to tell the word of God, but he was a sneaky man.

He received a message from King Balak, leader of Moab, a nearby country in the Middle East. “Hordes of Israelites have arrived from Egypt. They’re threatening me. Come and curse them. Then maybe my soldiers and I can defeat them. I have heard that anyone you curse is doomed. Anyone you bless is blessed.”

Officials from Balak brought money to pay Balaam. He told them, “Stay overnight. I’ll tell you in the morning what Yahweh tells me to say.” That was the special name for God that the Jews used.

That night God told Balaam, “Do not go with the officials and do not curse the Israelites. I have blessed them.”

Morning arrived and Balaam told the officials, “Go home. God will not let me go with you.”

When they reported to King Balak, he sent important officials and a second message to Balaam. “Do not let anything keep you from coming to curse the Israelites. I will pay you well and do whatever you ask.”

Balaam replied, “Even if you give me a palace with silver and gold, I cannot go against God’s will. Stay here one more night and see if there is another message from God.” Tricky talk! He knew he should not be accepting this job from King Balak.

That night God’s message to Balaam was, “Since the men have come for you, go with them. Do only what I tell you to do.”

Balaam went with the officials. As he travelled, his donkey suddenly bolted off the road. Balaam beat him and returned to travelling. The road became narrow with walls on each side. The donkey acted as though he had little room to move ahead. He squeezed tightly against a wall and one of Balaam’s feet was crushed. He lashed his donkey and moved ahead.

The road became more narrow and the donkey lay down. Balaam beat his donkey and yelled, “Because you make me look like a fool! If I had a sword with me, I would kill you.” He paused, said, “No.” and collapsed onto the ground. He began talking to someone.

Later he explained, “My donkey asked me, ‘What have I done to you that gives you a right to beat me three times?’ I told him that he made me look like a fool.

“He told me, ‘I am the same donkey you always ride. Have I ever done anything like this before?’

“’No!’ I answered. Immediately I saw an angel of the Lord with a drawn sword standing on the road. I fell face into the ground. The angel asked me, “Why did you beat your donkey? I am here to block you, because you are resisting me. Your donkey saw me and tried to get away.”

“I felt ashamed. ‘I have sinned. I’ll go back home, if you are against my going.”

“The angel ordered me, “Move on. Say only what I tell you to say.”

King Balak was desperate for help. He rode to meet Balaam and asked, “Why didn’t you come immediately? Did you think I wouldn’t pay you well?”

“No, that’s not the reason. You need to know that I am powerless to speak anything different from what God tells me to say. He has my tongue.”

The next morning King Balak took Balaam up on a high hill. What would Balaam do?

This is Barbara Steiner soon returning with part two. Please check out thisweeksstory.com.

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