In the past few days I’ve had to do some dealing with pride…. I think there are two different kinds of pride- the first kind of pride is the standard definition of pride… something to the tune of the “quality of being proud” or “a reasonable self respect.” When I have worked hard at something and it meets the goals that were created there can definitely be a sense of pride in a job well done. I’m not so sure that there is anything wrong with that … But there is also the other definition of P.R.I.D.E. –
I suppose maybe that is more likely PRIDE(N) but you get the picture… this is the kind of pride that gets us into trouble … this is the kind of pride that keeps us from allowing ourselves to be humble… this is the kind of pride that is not only dangerous but can be hurtful… this is the kind of pride that make us look foolish in the end anyway…
My daily reading led me to the story of Balaam and his donkey. (Numbers 22:21-24)
The story in a nutshell is about Balaam on his way to visit Balak who thinks Balaam will place a curse on the Israelites for him. On the road, Balaam’s donkey suddenly takes off into a field. He gets so upset at her behavior that he beats her and she gets back up on the road. Then the next thing the donkey does is as they are passing through a walled area she pushes Balaam’s leg up against the wall and again he gets upset and beats her. Finally the donkey just stops and lays down… again, Balaam(seems like such a pleasant guy)takes his frustrations out on her. This time, little miss donkey has had enough and turns around and asks Balaam (yes, she spoke) why he keeps hitting her. He said he was embarassed (his pride was hurt) because she was making him look like a fool in front of others who were supposed to respect him. Little did Balaam know that his faithful donkey was only protecting him from an angel that the Lord had sent that would have probably killed him and Balaam finally sees the angel and is so sorry for his actions.
So all of this takes place and I noticed something… The writer of this acts as if a donkey speaking is a natural thing. There are no double takes from Balaam and his traveling crew, nor are there any out of control screams of horror or even laughter… there is nothing. So here is my take on this… Balaam was so focused on his pride and looking like a fool that he forgot he was conversing with a donkey…and I’m pretty sure looked pretty foolish anyway..
Yep, that is the way PRIDE(N) works… or at least in my life… I focus on what I don’t want others to see because it may embarrass me only to find myself talking to a donkey I end up looking foolish anyway. There are times I don’t ask others for help and it haunts me later…
Are you experiencing PRIDE(N)? Balaam saw what he had done wrong… and he was sorry…. me too.
21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam 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, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her 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, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she 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 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.
31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’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. [i] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”
34 Balaam 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.”