Monday, November 28, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Donkey

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.

While pondering the word, “Donkey,” I was inspired by listening to The Friendly Beasts by Art Garfunkel and Amy Grant…“Jesus our brother, strong and good was humbly borne in a stable rude, and the friendly beasts around Him stood, Jesus our brother strong and good. ‘I,’ said the donkey shaggy and brown, ‘I carried his mother up hill and down I carried his mother to Bethlehem town’…and every beast by some good spell in the stable dark was glad to tell of the gift he gave Emmanuel, the gift he gave Emmanuel.”

In Biblical times, many people rode on donkeys. Kings also had and rode on donkeys. Donkeys were, it seems, to be the choice of folks that did not want to bring attention to themselves while traveling. Did Mary, the mother of Jesus, ride a donkey in to Bethlehem? It is not in Scripture that Mary rode a donkey. They probably did own a donkey and Mary, being pregnant, would have been the one to ride. The Bible only records one ride that Jesus took. Jesus choose to ride into Jerusalem for "His Triumphal Entry" and, as recorded in Isaiah 62, "See your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

Corrie ten Boom, a Christian who survived life at the Nazi concentration camps, was asked by a reporter in a press conference if it was difficult remaining humble while hearing so much acclaim. She replied immediately, “Young man, when Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the back of a donkey, and everyone was waving palm branches and throwing garments in the road and singing praises, do you think that for one moment it ever entered the head of that donkey that any of that was for him?” She continued, “If I can be the donkey on which Jesus Christ rides in His glory, I give Him all the praise and all the honor.”

A very famous donkey is Scripture is recorded in Numbers 22:32-35 NASB…
[The angel said to Balaam,] “I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away.. ” Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will go back home if you are against my going.” But the angel of the Lord told him, “Go with these men, but you may say only what I tell you to say.”

Balaam was going forth to do as God had instructed him, but he was going with the wrong motives. His wholehearted obedience turned halfhearted because of his greed for wealth and prestige. His covetousness blinded him to the angel of the Lord who was blocking the path on which he traveled, because his eyes were focused on hoped-for riches and not on the hope-filled mission.

Balaam ceased to reside in prayer—in a conscious awareness of God’s presence. However, three times God was there narrowing the road in attempts to stop Balaam and get his attention. What path is God “narrowing” in your life so that you feel his resistance? God loves us enough that if we persist in doing things our way and ignore His presence or resist His will, He will derail us, just as he did Balaam’s talking donkey, in order to get our attention and restore our fellowship with Him.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that opens my eyes to see You on every path of life and leads me in obeying Your will in Your way! Help me to follow You, whether it is to move forward into new territory or to return to a previously visited place. Only You know the direction I need to go. I will trust in Your leadership and rely on Your character. Thank You for leading me exactly where I need to go. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on 
Numbers 22:32-35… pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on 
Numbers 22:32-35… pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on 
Numbers 22:32-35…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

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