I was thinking of Balaam today. Balaam and his talking animal. The thing is... animals don't talk.
"And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road... When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, 'What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?'
And Balaam said to the donkey, 'Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.' " - Numbers 22:23, 27-29 ESV
Can you see the parallel of the angel with the draw sword to the garden of Eden. The angel barred the way back
"And the donkey said to Balaam, 'Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?'
And he said, 'No.'
Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face.
And the angel of the LORD said to him, 'Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.'
Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, 'I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.' " - Numbers 22:30-34 ESV
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has inflamed our minds and ignited a contradictory nature. The law amplifies that nature and makes it visible. The natural man lives in a duality that is perverse.
Balaam's greed drew him onward and his ego was wounded. He lives in a duality that splits his very soul in two. That error will make him into a divider in Israel.
"But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality." - Revelation 2:14 ESV
Balaam's ego can be wounded because he does not live in grace. He has no 'free gift' identity. He wants to 'do'. He wants to 'accomplish'. He wants to 'have' by effort to build a name for himself.
The donkey is speaking for God but Balaam is blind to that. The donkey says, 'Haven't I been good to you all your life?'
Balaam can't hear that from God. He is ready to smite that voice like his natural man would smite God but His ego won't let him direct the anger towards God. The law makes our hidden hared for God visible. It kills us because we can not reconcile our split mind.
Grace unifies our mind. The free gift makes us whole. The law reveals an incurable wound but grace reveals a merciful God that makes people one inside and outside.
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.'" - Revelation 2:17 ESV
Grace brings hidden manna and imparts to us a secret name. Grace truth and a grace identity.
The cross kills our ego and ambition. It is buried with Christ and we are raised with Him on the third day. We rise with Him and sit with Him in Heaven. He is the glory not us. He is important. Basking in His glory we are made one. There is great joy and peace in that unity.
Balaam divides but the grace man or woman gathers and does not feel like less of a person doing it.