In the Beginning, Before Adam Sinned, He Could Converse With God’s Creatures…
27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
29 Balaam 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 Balaam, “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.
Many times, when we read the Bible, we read something, sort of gloss over it, and move on. We are looking for answers, instructions, hope, direction, spiritual encouragement, or whatever agenda we bring when we open the Word of the Living God. But here is something VERY curious.
Although Balaam was a prophet, it didn’t strike him as particularly odd that his donkey spoke to him. But scripture says that God opened the donkey’s mouth, indicating that this was not the normal behavior for that animal. If I was walking home from the store after purchasing some meat to cook, and a dog walked up to me and said, “May I please have some of your meat? I’m very hungry”, I would probably drop what I had in my hands in shock, and look for the Candid Camera staff, or whoever I thought was setting me up as a practical joke (a ventriloquist throwing his/her voice, perhaps? Speakers in the bushes? A rigged dog collar?). Back then, they didn’t have the technology to fool people.
Balaam was alone with his donkey. His reaction was completely out of line with the reaction of just about every other person on the planet today. Or was it? Had this happened on a regular basis in the Old Testament, so God didn’t think to put it in the Bible? Or is this just the natural order of things, and we forget because of the curse on the Earth? Balaam’s nonchalant response to this odd(?) behavior of his donkey should give us pause.
However, this isn’t the first time we see this going type of behavior of God’s universe going on:
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Before Adam had sinned, apparently God had enabled both man and the animals to communicate with each other. It doesn’t say here that God opened the mouth of the serpent, or that Eve “spiritually heard” the animal, or that there was some sort of interpretation of tongues going on – Adam AND Eve both heard and understood the serpent when it spoke, and the serpent heard and understood Eve. God provided Adam the privilege and responsibility of naming the creatures. Would it not have been ironic if Adam had simply asked them what they wanted to be called?
But it is not just the creatures that talk. All of Creation speaks to us.
The Ground Groans
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
The Rocks React
The stones of the wall will cry out,
and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
God will again set right that which man caused to become corrupt. And when He does, there is no reason to believe that man will be at enmity with the animals. Rather, he will be in harmony with them.
A Qualifying Question
So, let’s ask ourselves a question: Do I pause and dig deeper when I see odd things while reading scripture?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You show us wonderful new things in Your law. Father, all of Creation was in harmony before the fall of man, and I know You will restore it once Your Son comes again in glory and power, and all things are finished. Help me to look expectantly forward to that blessed event, and to be prepared for that day. Help me as I read through Your word that I would pause and seek understanding for anything that appears out-of-place, or that I don’t understand. I know Father that I will be held accountable for what I know and understand. Help me to understand that which You desire me to know, and to live out what You have revealed to me in Your word. This I ask and pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.