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The Value of Obstacles – Part 3

In the first and second parts of this post, we saw how challenges, oppositions, and rejections could redirect and reposition people for exploits. But obstacles can also save us from ourselves.

Going ahead by all means

There is an interesting story in Chapter 22 of the Bible book of Numbers. A certain king hired a prophet to cast a spell on a group of journeymen. Fear of being overrun by the wayfaring strangers triggered the king into an irrational response.

From the get-go, it was apparent God was not interested in the spell-casting assignment. Unknown to both the king and the prophet, the group targeted for the spell has been travelling on God's mercies for quite a long time and was beyond the curse.

Ignoring the initial warning, the prophet kept going back to reconfirm if he should go or not. Eventually, God got out of his way, and he mounted his donkey to get going.

It is possible to be so stubborn that you want to arm-twist God. There is a level of obstinacy that can still sustain irrational arguments even when confronted by God.

You know what God expects you to do but you are motivated by something else to do the contrary. In this case, both political and financial pressure came to bear on the prophet.

When the donkey spoke

A speaking donkey is not something humans can comprehend. But this is what happens when God is so determined to stop a man when nothing else can stop him.

First, the donkey saw into the supernatural. This is a privilege only few humans can afford. The donkey saw angelic obstructions and tried to manoeuvre its way around it. A donkey cannot distinguish a physical obstruction from a divine roadblock.

But the prophet was still oblivious to what the donkey was dealing with. He took it out on the donkey until the donkey could not find any way forward and collapsed to the ground.

When the donkey started talking, the prophet acted as if it was normal. Somehow, he managed to engage the donkey in a conversation and even threatened to kill the donkey.

Why the donkey spoke

Can we become so stubbornly stuck in our ways even when we get to a dead end?

That was when God opened the prophet's eyes to see what the donkey saw all along.

There was an angel of God with a drawn sword standing in the way. God had sent a heavenly warrior down to stop a man on a self-sabotaging mission.

This was one time that God spared a man from death because a donkey was more perceptive than the man. Three times the donkey avoided confrontation with the angel and three times the prophet beat the donkey.

Why should you keep going until the journey becomes so dangerous?

Toxic positivity culture will tell you to go through every obstacle. That is not true. An obstacle could be God’s design to preserve you from mishaps – from yourself.

This does not mean you will become so sensitive that you will always accurately identify every potentially wrong endeavour.

But if you tune into your situation correctly, you may miss the first cue, but you would not miss the obviously anomalous behaviour of a speaking donkey.

What if...

Your own donkey may be different.

Let's assume you’ve missed all the signs, and you successfully navigated all the obstacles towards a certain disaster, I pray God sends you an angel of mercy – to preserve you.

This is the last line of defence. Remember, God can only be your last line of defence if He has skin in your game.


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