In high school, my best friend was part of a bible quiz team. She would invite me to a couple of her classes or competitions and she would have me help her study her verses. I was completely amazed by how much she had memorized when I didn’t know a single verse of the bible by heart! Fast forward about 20 years and I feel the same way sometimes sitting in church during our study groups.
Our pastor does a bit of bible trivia before Wednesday night classes to get the juices flowing and, quite honestly, it just makes me feel lost! As my fellow church goers spit out names and places and books and verses like they’re reciting the ABCs it reminds me just how much I’ve not learned in my 36 years of life. So, tonight, instead of sticking with reading Romans like I have been this past week, I changed it up.
I flipped through the New Testament, seeing if anything would catch my eye…nothing. I tried just opening the bible up to a page and seeing if the passage I landed on spoke to me. Nope. So then I go to the handy dandy reference section in the back of my bible. “Balaam and the talking donkey” (Numbers 22:21-36) Did that just say talking donkey?! Ok, I HAVE to check this one out. The whole time I’m trying to find the book of Numbers I’m envisioning Donkey from Shrek. Surely they don’t mean a real talking donkey. (Que. old lady’s voice “Oh I talk! I’m the talking-est donkey you’ve ever seen!”)
Perhaps it was about the donkey making it’s first braying sound. Or some Dr. Doolittle figure that can “talk with the animals.”
I start reading, and as Balaam is beating this poor beast for protecting him from the unseen angel, I’m waiting for it to start hee-hawing. Sure enough though…..out comes Eddie Murphy’s voice! (It probably actually sounded nothing like Mr. Murphy, but in my head that’s what I heard.) I mean, how crazy is that?! I knew the bible has some pretty insane things documented in it, but a talking donkey was probably last on my list of things expected to hear about.
It just goes to show that reading and studying the bible isn’t all “do this/don’t do that” and filled with people that God used to get his message across. It’s really quite astounding and, quite frankly, entertaining! Especially when you can relate to it or put something from your life into the studying of the passages so that you’ll remember it and be able to recall it when needed. I guarantee that I will not be forgetting this story, particularly the next time the kids and I watch Shrek. I may not have places and dates and names memorized. I may not have many verses memorized. I do, however, know quite a few stories and parables that I am able to recall and relate to when the occasions arise in my daily walk with Christ. Hopefully that walk does not include a talking animal, because I’m pretty sure I would react much differently than Balaam did. But, when I am being stubborn about where I want my path to lead me and I’m being led a different way….perhaps I’ll take note of that which is redirecting me.
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