I recommend that you read all of Numbers 22 for that story – it sounds like a fish tale for sure. A talking donkey of all things, and not one conjured up by Dreamworks for Shrek. God, giving voice, and through that granting power to a lowly creature. This donkey had the ability to see an angel when its master couldn’t, and tried through its behavior to communicate to the man that something was in the path. God spoke through the donkey and the angel to get through to this stubborn man in question.
In Scripture, we’ve read a variety of ways that God speaks, my favorite being simply in walking together in a garden. If you think a donkey is hard to listen to, how about a prophet who is telling you all about your sin and your need to repent? Angels sound like beautiful options for messengers, but by most accounts, they are terrifying. Visions and dreams and miracles are, if not common, then perhaps prolific, and still occurring today in ways that allow us to hear God, if we are only listening. Readily on hand across the ages, God has spoken through the Word we call the Bible, and God’s Word made flesh in Jesus, risen and alive to speak with us still today.
I wonder what interesting and challenging ways God has spoken to you. For a while, God spoke with me in the context of driving in my Toyota Corolla when I moved to a town called, of all things, Zionsville, in Indiana. It was God speaking that led me to drive that car into town where I found home in Christ at Zionsville UMC. What story of God’s inbreaking voice is yours to tell? How have you been shaken to the core by God’s Word interrupting you on your journey, a detour that you needed to make to set you on the right path? Has it been a voice, or feeling, or a metaphorical 2x4 to the head that knocked you off your feet? Have you had a presence of Christ talking with you through followers of Jesus? How has God spoken to you?
Not just how, but also what – what is it you’ve “heard” or maybe it is more accurate to ask what is it you’ve experienced God telling you? When I became a Christian, I discovered that God was very succinct with me, and the words I was given were, “Go to church.” Much later, one night as I was praying my thanksgiving for all the blessings in my life, God spoke, “Don’t waste it.” Nothing floral, certainly nothing spoken in the tongue of King James. In a recent time of prayer with Bethany’s Intercessory Prayer Team, someone shared these words received from God: “It’s not about us.” And “Get off your butts.” Blunt, but direct. Even in the complexities of Scripture, we can hear God speak simply to us, “Be still.” “Love.” “Go.” God knows all the languages and cultures and can speak all the tongues, so that God is understood as needed. When you get that message, do you heed it? What word are you needing to hear now? What word are you needing to obey now?