Reading verses about donkeys this morning. Interesting stuff. Spurgeon mentions this reference in his evening devotional (Exodus 34:20).
"All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed. ... Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year." Exodus 34:19-20, 23-24 ESV
But donkeys end up in interesting places.
"You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.
If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.
You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit. Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked." Exodus 23:1-7 ESV
The donkey reference is slipped in between the lawsuit references to reset the tone of things.
Here is an account of a prophet told not to 'eat, drink or return the way he came'. He would not be disobedient for a king but he was for another prophet and then this.
"And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body... And he went and found his body thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the donkey." 1 Kings 13:24, 28 ESV
It is also used in Exodus chapter 22 a chapter dealing with restitution.
"If a man gives to his neighbor a donkey or an ox or a sheep or any beast to keep safe, and it dies or is injured or is driven away, without anyone seeing it, an oath by the LORD shall be between them both to see whether or not he has put his hand to his neighbor's property. The owner shall accept the oath, and he shall not make restitution. But if it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner." Exodus 22:10-12 ESV
There is much more to this. Spurgeon likens the donkey to a person. Reading it this morning I see it more as a vehicle or pet project. God also has His own pet project.
"And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 'Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!' " John 12:14-15 ESV
His vehicle is a new vehicle and the purpose is redemption.
Where is Jesus in relation to my projects and plans. Does the first born belong to God? Is the God of Grace riding in the center of my lawsuit? Perhaps if I saved me neighbors donkey there would be no lawsuit.
If my plans are not redemptive I want to be ready to give them a quick ending and not ride them into compromise with the lion and the donkey standing by looking at my lifelessness with others making reports about it.
What will bear our burdens? Will we come and 'appear before the LORD' today? The God of all Grace will do something special each time we come.