READ Numbers 22:22-35
But God was incensed that Balaam was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand on the path to oppose him. Balaam was riding his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing on the path with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the path and went into the field. So Balaam hit her to return her to the path. Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a stone wall on either side. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord and pressed herself against the wall, squeezing Balaam’s foot against it. So he hit her once again. The angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn to the right or the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she crouched down under Balaam. So he became furious and beat the donkey with his stick.
Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she asked Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You made me look like a fool. If I had a sword in my hand, I’d kill you now!”
But the donkey said, “Am I not the donkey you’ve ridden all your life until today? Have I ever treated you this way before?”
“No,” he replied.
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the path with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam knelt low and bowed in worship on his face. The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? Look, I came out to oppose you, because I consider what you are doing to be evil. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, I would have killed you by now and let her live.”
Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the path to confront me. And now, if it is evil in your sight, I will go back.”
Then the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you are to say only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.
Many scholars agree that when we see the phrase, “angel of the LORD” in the Old Testament, this is actually pre-incarnate Jesus. In other words, Jesus before he was actually born as a human. I know! That’s a pretty wild thing! But stay with me.
We know that Jesus has always existed (compare John 1 and Genesis 1). Therefore, what better way to interact in human history than through His Son? Not only did Jesus come as a human baby who was fully God and fully man, he appeared in various moments throughout history.
This story of Balaam and his donkey is a "famous" passage. Some of us might feel like the donkey. We keep trying to do what is right, but people keep beating us. They keep insisting our way is wrong and do everything they can to oppose us. Some of us are like Balaam. We think we know what is right so we maintain our stubborn course, regardless of who might get hurt along the way. Still some of us are like the princes with Balaam and his donkey. We are along for the ride. We don’t really have much of an opinion, and even if we do, we don’t speak up.
Regardless of where you are and who you relate to, one thing is certain. Jesus is there. Sword drawn. Ready to oppose those who oppose God. Not because He desires bloodshed, but because He believes so much in God’s plan. He proves it later with His own life on the cross.
Take some time to thank God for His great plan, that His name is the greatest name. Thank Him for his continual involvement in our history and our lives.