This is another story which liberals sneer at us for believing: the account of the prophet, Balaam, who was rebuked by his ass (Numbers 22: 23-33).
Modern people think the people of the ancient world were credulous ninnies. Actually, people of Balaam’s time would have known much more about domestic animals than we do. They would have certainly known that an ass doesn’t talk.
Ah! But according to liberal scholars who don’t believe the Bible anyway, this was only a story cooked up by Jewish priests to pass the time while they were held captive in Babylon. At worst it was an idle tale to be imposed upon the gullible. At best it was a metaphor.
The Bible tells us that Balaam was a prophet, a man with the ability to communicate directly with God, a man held in high esteem even by kings and princes. As the children of Israel neared the Promised Land, the king of Moab sought to hire Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam was not eager to do this, but eventually the king’s emissaries soft-soaped him into it. And so Balaam sinned by selling the gift of God.
On his way to the king of Moab, Balaam was confronted by an angel of the Lord’s wrath. Because he had wilfully subjected himself to spiritual blindness, Balaam couldn’t see the angel. But the ass he was riding could: and three times the ass did Balaam an injury while avoiding the angel with the sword. When Balaam, because he totally failed to perceive the cause of what was happening, beat the ass, “the Lord opened the mouth of the ass,” and the ass rebuked Balaam and had to explain the situation to him.
Then Balaam went on to Moab; but instead of cursing israel, was compelled by God to bless him.
I believe this narrative is true–and that it was remembered, and kept in the Bible, because it was a miracle: a thing that could only happen because God made it happen. Balaam was a high and mighty VIP who was rebuked by an ass, the least prestigious of riding animals. I dare you to tell me God doesn’t love to work that way! He uses weak things of the world to overthrow the things that are mighty, foolish things to confound the wisdom of this world, and things that are despised, to take down the things that are held in high esteem (1 Corinthians Chapter 1).
Another thing learned by Balaam, in the course of his humbling experience: God is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).
And even Balaam was never such a fool as to mock anyone for believing God.