God can literally use anyone He wants to use.
At first glance, Balaam seems to be a great guy… He listens to God. He delivers God’s message. He is obedient.
Dig a little deeper, though, and you discover that Balaam was a “seer of the gods” who practiced divination and made a living extorting the people following him. Sure, he did what God told him to do in Numbers 22-25, but was that because he knew he was a following God or thought he was following “a god?”
A couple chapters over, we discover that Balaam had a little side deal with Moab where he encouraged the Moabites to mix with the Israelites and draw them away from God. (Balaam is killed for his sin in 31:8)
Let this be a constant reminder to us that we don’t just DO things that make us look good… We should BE things that ARE good.
Oh, and don’t be surprised when donkeys talk… Numbers 22:28-29 — 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…‘”
When you’re close to God, strange, otherwise ‘unexplainable’ things have a way of happening. Balaam wasn’t exactly what you would call a great follower of God but even he recognized that when you approach the divine, it’s entirely conceivable for your donkey to say hello.
I can’t help but ask myself what I would do if my donkey (or my dog) turned around and asked how my day was going… Am I close enough to God that I expect Him to do something ‘crazy’? Have I really approached the Divine?