Scripture Reading: Numbers 22
“Yea, when pigs fly!” It is said that this phrase has been in use since the 1600’s as a figure of speech denoting something that could never happen. This figure of speech, called an adynation, is one that perhaps you have used yourself, and certainly have heard it over and again throughout your life. It is said that John Steinbeck was told by one of his professors that he would be an author when pigs fly. When he did become an author, every work bore this insignia, “Ad astra per alas porci.” (Meaning, “to the stars on the wings of a pig.”)
You read in your Bible reading today about a true “adynation;” an incident that was totally impossible, yet a Biblical reality. Donkeys will be able to talk when pigs fly! Well, that is not really accurate, for donkeys have talked. One has, at least.
Lynn and I have had donkeys in the past. The first one was not very vocal, but the other two were very much so. In fact, their braying was quite annoying, and could be heard for some distance. When we sold our log home in 2000, the people that bought it said that the only way they would purchase the home was if they were able to keep the donkeys. We jumped on that opportunity.
Balaam’s donkey did talk. God allowed it to do so. He had a message that needed to be given, and the donkey was closest to the backslidden prophet, so God opened its mouth and the rest is history. As a preacher, this is somewhat humbling to me. When I feel like I have really preached a good message, I am reminded that one of the greatest messages ever preached was through the mouth of a donkey. Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Know this, child of God, if He can use a donkey to accomplish His will, He can use the likes of us. Let’s be useable for our Lord!
Pastor Steve W. Smith