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Lesson on Kindness: The Talking Donkey

There was once a diviner named Balaam.  Prince messengers were sent to him by Balak, King of Moab and Israel's enemy to pay him to put a curse on Israel.  God told Balaam clearly not to do it because God blesses Israel. 

When Balaam went with the princes, God was angry. The angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him.  Though Balaam did not see the angel, the donkey that he rode saw the angel with a sword in his hand.  At first, it turned into the field and Balaam beat it to get back on the road. When passing a narrow path with walls on both sides, the donkey saw the angel standing on the way. It pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam's foot against it. So he beat it again.

For the third time the angel appeared, there was no way to escape, so it lay down. This greatly angered Balaam and struck the donkey with a stick.  Then the donkey spoke and said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?"

Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now."  The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?"  "No," Balaam said.

Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now."

Balaam said to the angel, "I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back."  The angel said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you." So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

This Bible Story can be found in Numbers 22:1-39

Kids Reflection: 
1.  How did Balaam treat his donkey?  How did the donkey respond?
2.  Do you have a pet?  How do you treat your pet?  With kindness?  How?

Supplemental Story:  One day last week I saw a huge pair of bobsleds, heavily loaded up with coal, being pulled up the street by two big, fine-looking horses. There were two men on the sled. Their faces were black, but it was the dirt of honest labor, it was coal dust. They stopped the horses in front of the house straight across the street from me. The first thing one of the men did was to get down, take a plank, go about to the front of the horses, lift up the heavy wagon tongue, place the plank underneath it as a brace that the necks of the horses might be let off of the strain of the wagon tongue. At the same time the other man took two warm blankets and covered the horses with them, tucking in the corners below the harness to make them tight and warm. Then the men set to work to carry the coal, basket by basket, into the basement. That was kindness, was it not, to see that the horses were so well cared for on a cold winter day?

To my mind one of the finest acts of our city government is the way we are taught kindness to animals and birds, by allowing them to make their homes and nests in the public park. What a delight it is to walk through the park and have the squirrels come running up so close, to eat from one's hand! That is kindness.

MEMORY VERSE: Ephesians 4:32

"Be ye kind to one another."

KIDS CRAFT:  Make a print out of a donkey coloring page and ask the kids to color it.  There is a nice donkey coloring page at http://www.niteowl.org/kids.  It has a nursery rhyme printed on it that you can also learn together with the kids.

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