THE KING’S BUSINESS
wish against God’s will; to commission by permission despite God’s prohibition, just ly angered God (v. 22). The angel of Je hovah (Defender of Israel), unseen by the wise man but seen by the ass, stood in the way to slay him, and “the dumb ass, speaking with man’s voice, forbade the madness of the prophet” (2 Peter 2:16). A. As to the fact : (1) It is recorded in th e B ible . (2) It is an inseparable part of the history; (J) interlocked with unique predictions fulfilled and fulfilling, which is an equal and demonstrable mir acle. B. As to objections: (1) “An ass can not reason.” It does not say she reasoned, but she spoke. (2) “An ass could not speak.” It does not say an asS could speak, but that J ehovah opened th e mouth of th is ass and she spoke. - (3 ) “It is ab surd.” But 20th century “Science” says (a) animals reason; . (b) have language; and (cj a professor associated long with apes to learn their speech, and published its vocabulary; (d) no evolutionist should deem it absurd 'that a sporadic instance of advanced development should occur—for .these reasons “Science,” at least, should not object; (e) it was quite fit that Professor Balaam, who, with his colleagues, claimed to interpret animal utterances, -should be addressed by an ass; (>f) it was fit that the folly of his superstition should be rebuked in kind. It> is further objected: (4) that Balaam showed no surprise, “ (e )” (see above) would partly explain this; but it does not say Balaam was not amazed, he may have been utterly confounded; and (5) that nothing is said of the astonish ment of the “princes” and "servants.” Very true. The silence of the record does not prove the absence of the event. But they probably saw and heard nothing of it. (6) But the all sufficient answer is : (a) The ignorance of man; (b) the almightiness of God; (c) the worthiness of the revela tion; (d) the oneness of the biblical rec ords; (e) the matchless moral’ influence of it all. Prof. Huxley, eminent scientist and
sceptic, admitted that, granting an almighty God, there is no reason why every miracle in the Bible may not have occurred. The most learned man cannot explain how a man can talk, how the organs of speech form articulate sounds, which fall in turn on the ear and create intelligent, corre spondent thought in the mind of. another. The mystery is inscrutable. .It follows that no such man can say why the vocal organs of an ass might, could, would or should not Speak intelligibly if God willed. .“Can you •believe,” said one, “that God could make an ass speak like a man?” “As easy,” said the other, “as that a man should speak like an ' ass.” VI. T h e M ore I mportant L essons . 1. God is Changeless (23:19). He will keep His promise with His chosen. 2. Israel is Secure (23:23). “If God be for us, who can be against us ?” (Rom. 8:31). 3. He Covers the Iniquity of His People (23:21). “It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth?” (Rom. 8:33). 4. A Great Prediction (24 :17). “Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jeru salem” (Matt. 2:1); from the same region as Balaam, of the same profession, though of different disposition, they knew his prophecy and looked for the “Star.” 5. “Enchantments’’ are Vain (24:1). This applies to all fortune telling, clair- voyancy, and spiritism (Isa. 8:19). 6. God Rules (22:18, 38). Men can do nothing but what God permits. God per mits sinners to sin when they are bent on having their own will (22:20). 7. God Speaks by Prophets (23:5). If He cam so use bad men, much more “His holy prophets.” 8. He Transmutes Curses to Blessings (23:11). 9. The Root of Balaam’s Perversity (1 Tim. 6:10; 1 Peter 2:15), 10. Balaam’s End (Hum. 31:8). Balaam who would have sold Israel, like Judas who •sold the Christ, died the death he deserved, not that he wished (23:4).
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