December 9, 2015
We all know how important angels were at the time of Jesus’ birth — directing Joseph, comforting Mary, and providing a heavenly chorus singing “On earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14.) For the next few weeks, our Wednesday readings are on Bible angels who were part of that heavenly chorus, but whose names we don’t know. We may not even know their nature, but we will learn more about them by the guidance they provided in preparing the way for the Messiah – the Christ.
This Wednesday, we are beginning with animals and angels, specifically the Balaam angel — the story of the talking donkey, and how animals intuitively see God’s way before we do. Now gift wrap this thought with our traditional Christmas scene of Jesus’ birth in a manger — under the stars, surrounded by sweet animals, the gifts of diversity— all of God’s creation called to celebrate the Christ!
That is just one message from this Bible story about pets and peace. Now, I did find the conversation between God and Balaam confusing, but reading through the periodicals clarified it for me. In “Uninterrupted Progress,” Robert Ellis Key wrote:
Perhaps there was some hesitancy in Balaam’s obedience, maybe a lingering desire for wealth, promotion, and prestige. He had received instructions from God not to go with the princes of Moab, and not to curse Israel, yet he went to God for further direction. He turned to ask for instructions a second time and was permitted to go, because he was obviously not ready to obey.
We know we are all God’s children who are meant to be blessed. Yet I still find myself being critical of others, and when you are judging others, you are not blessing. If you say, “Yes, but…,” it is like Balak and Balaam trying to find a way to curse the Israelites from a different angle. Eventually, Balaam does see the promise of the Messiah in the Israelites, just as we should see the Christ in each other. Now that’s another good Christmas message from this story!
I hope you can join us to hear about these angelic intuitions of blessings. We’d love for you to share your thoughts, experiences, and testimonies.