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“Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?'” Numbers 22:28
“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap…..and God feeds them.” Luke 12:24
One of the most amazing blessings provided by our Heavenly Father is just how far He is willing to go and with what an amazing variety of His creation He is willing to use; to provide His wonderful lessons to us. Let us start by considering the two examples cited above.
In the first example, Balaam is a man of God living in the promised land before the Israelites settle there after leaving Egypt. By the Hand of God, the Israelites are conquering every nation they come up against. So one of the kings who is yet to be conquered, being exceedingly scared of the Israelites, seeks after Balaam to come and curse these invading people. The first time the king sends emissaries to ask for Balaam’s help, they are turned away after God tells Balaam not go with them for the Israelites are a blessed people. However, the scared king is persistent and sends even more powerful emissaries with more money to plead with Balaam to come. Again, Balaam is told not to listen to these people but he decides to go with them. God is not pleased with Balaam so he places an angel in front of Balaam, who is riding his donkey, but Balaam can’t see the angel, only the donkey can. So after the donkey turns to the side three times to avoid the angel, Balaam continues to get madder and strike the donkey harder. Finally, the Lord allows the donkey to talk and through the donkey reveals both the angel who is blocking the way as well as Balaam’s sin in listening to the men. Now understanding what the donkey has been trying to teach him, Balaam falls on his face and repents of his sin.
In the second example, Jesus is teaching a great many truths to his disciples and others. When Jesus comes to the topic of worry, He decides to use the ravens as an example. He wants His listeners to really contemplate this lesson by observing How God works in the world. You see these ravens are God’s creation. Yet in their day to day tasks, they don’t make provisions for themselves, that is; they don’t sow seed into the ground, take care of it and then reap it. The birds have nowhere to store their food for possible lean times, they have no barn. Yet God, in His mercy and wisdom feeds them. If God is willing to do that for mere ravens, how much more is He willing to do for His children?
I was inspired to write on this topic, because of how God has used a blessed animal to teach me so many lessons. God has blessed my family with a wonderful dog, through whom God has taught me so many lessons. For one, the dog loved his walks. It was during the serenity of those many walks that God has inspired so much of my writing. A large portion of the posts on this home page and, if you’ve gone to the Daily Thoughts page on this blog, the vast majority of those posts came to me during the daily excursions my companion and I traveled on.
Yet Our Heavenly Father used this wonderful companion to teach me so much more. There was a contentious period where my patience was sorely tested and I was tempted to send the dog away. However, Our Heavenly Father, taught me patience, mercy and forgiveness allowing a truly powerful and fulfilling relationship to grow and flourish.
Also, Our Heavenly Father used this amazing family member to teach me some very powerful lessons about myself and my relationship with Our Heavenly Father. God taught me about the nature and power of true trust; as there were times when, for the health or safety of the dog I would have to do or command certain things to which the humble animal would obey without question or even seeming concern.
Conversely, there were times when Our Heavenly Father used the stubbornness of the dog as a mirror to my own behavior when the dog would obstinately refuse to obey something I needed for him to do that was for his own good or even own pleasure. It was at those times that I contemplated my own behavior and wondered if Our Heavenly Father was having the same frustrated time wondering why I would not listen to or follow His plans for me.
Yes Dear Sisters and Brothers, the Lord used Nicodemus (my dog’s name) in so many ways to teach and bless, not only me but my entire family. And now the Lord has called Nicky to go to a new place. At this point to enter into some sort of debate or make a declaration concerning pets in heaven is not my intent. What I am absolutely sure of is that Nicky was God’s creation (just as the ravens are), that God loved him and that God has not forgotten about him and has placed him exactly where he needs to be. I take great comfort in that.
So I ask you, Dear Sisters and Brothers; who or what is God using to teach you a blessed lesson today? Our Heavenly Father wants so desperately for us to, not only learn, but be blessed in the learning of His lessons. Thus, He will use every part of His creation at His disposal to bring those lessons to us. And that would include sending His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be our teacher, our example and when we could not do it for ourselves; to be our Sacrifice and our Savior. Let us resolve to be open to seeing His lessons all around us.
Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are so very grateful and humbled that You would see fit to expend so much energy, time and patience in teaching us Your blessed lessons. We are so thankful for those teachers, human and otherwise who You so blessedly bring into our lives. Forgive us Most Merciful Father when we neglect to be open to Your lessons or turn to others in this world as substitute teachers. Fill us with Your Wisdom, and then use us as teachers, Dear Father that we might help be teachers of Your lessons, bringing praise to Your Most Holy Name. We pray in the Most Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen