The Bible is filled with many intriguing stories depicting God's mercy and love and grace, as well as His wrath with sin. One that has always caught and held my attention is one where a donkey (KJV says an Ass) talked to her owner. Central in the story in Numbers 22:28.

     I have often wondered if someone's dog or cat or horse or parakeet, today were to talk to their owner, what their reaction would be.  This story about Balaam and his donkey has long raised the question in my mind about ones ability to discern God's voice speaking to him/her.

     If God's voice burst forth audibly from the sky today, I doubt that it is very often. One of my favorite past times is watching people and attempting to discern what or how they are thinking by their walk. Having done this for the past 50 years I have concluded that God uses many familiar means of getting our attention and talking to us. Obviously He speaks to us through His written Word, the Bible, if we read it.

     Many common ways that God speaks to us is through wives, husbands, children, co-workers, neighbors, employeer, our pastor, Sunday school teacher and parents - and the list could go on. Some times God even uses an inanimate object to speak to us. A personal experience:

     Many years ago my family and I lived in Denver, Colorado. We shopped at a grocery that was near us - at least near in terms of how the crow flies. We could look across from the front porch of the house and see Safeway. It was perhaps half a mile away. Walking it was out of the question because of the terrain, plus the weight of the groceries on the return walk. There were two paths to drive to the grocery store. One which we always took was about a
15 minute drive. The other way was about a 45 minute drive. The short way we crossed a rail road track. One day in going to the store a train was stopped across the tracks - not moving. There were box cars, flat cars and oil tank cars as far as the eye could see both ways. After waiting impatiently for 15 minutes it was decided we would return to the house and take the long way to Safeway. As we were returning back to the house it was remembered that we had to stop at the house for my wife's purse — it contained the money!

     As I entered the house I smelled heat - lots of it!  The house was heated with a floor furnace. Some how an opened news paper had been left laying on top of the grill to the furnace. It was just about ready to burst into flames. I very quickly gathered up the paper and wet with water in the bath tub.

     As I slowly returned to the car with the purse, I was pondering how God had got my attention and His means of getting me to going back to the house. I related to my wife and the two children what had just happened. We paused to pray and I asked God's forgiveness for my anger and impatience, thanking Him for His unique methods of getting me back to the house.

     Even children can sometimes hear God's voice through their parents. Again, a personal experience. My wife and I raised our 4 children on five acres in the country. We had a garden, fruit trees, milk goats and horses. We also had our own water well and a nice stream of water flowed though the corner of our land. Among the fruit trees was a huge Oregon Grape vine. Every year we made the most delicious and nutritious grape juice one could have.

     One Fall, as was usual, we were harvesting grapes and making juice. I used a large 3 gallon pan to put grapes in still on their stems. Then filled it with water and brought it to a boil. After about 10 minutes boiling I pressed the grapes through a large heavy sieve. I would then hold the sieve under running water to rinse it and repeat the process.

     Of our four children, one was rather obstinate and some what rebellious. He had questioned the importance of Sunday School, attending church, Bible reading and home devotions. His rational was, "I can't remember it all any way."

     Suddenly I was inspired. I turned to my son, handing him the sieve still in need of cleaning and said, "Son, would you please run down to the creek and bring this back to me full of water?"  He took the sieve and away he went in a run.  In due time he returned, and with a tone of disgust, he was saying, "Dad you knew this sieve would not hold water!" Taking the sieve and continuing about my work, I said, "But, it is clean, is it not?"  He never again raised a question about the importance of serving God.

     No, God may not speak to us from a Burning Bush, or from the clouds, nor from the mouth of an Ass, but he does speak to us, sometimes, through those who are as stubborn as a mule!

     Are you listening? That still small voice just might be God speaking to you!                        

       Just a Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.




                                                                                                    Updated January 13, 2010
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