Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck... Exodus 13.13a
The only way a firstborn donkey could live was if a lamb was slain for it. I like this analogy because I know the lamb speaks of Jesus, and it’s not too difficult to figure out who the donkey represents. That would be me. I did a search on the word donkey and found it is mentioned twenty-five times in the Old Testament. Here are just a few I thought we're interesting . . .
In Genesis 22, when Abraham took Isaac up to Mount Moriah, a donkey was saddled for them. When we saddle a horse or donkey, it's pretty much a loss of liberty for them. Later in the same chapter, the donkey was to be tied up while Abraham and Isaac ascended the mountain, which could speak of an inability to worship. As Jacob pronounces blessing on his sons in Genesis 49, he likens Issachar to a donkey that is heavily laden. In Deuteronomy 22, I found that the ox and donkey were not to plow together, the implication being that the donkey would only slow the ox down. In 1 Samuel 9, I found Saul trying to locate his father’s donkeys that had wandered away. Jeremiah 22 speaks of a donkey left for dead and tossed outside the city gates.
Taken together, I kept seeing myself in these references. Laden down, tied up, lacking an ability to serve or worship the Lord, lost, left for dead, tossed out - not a very flattering picture. But then I came to the final mention of a donkey in the Old Testament, a glorious one indeed . . .
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9
In Matthew 21.2 & 3, a week before Jesus would go to Calvary, He said to His disciples, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once."
It was as if Jesus was saying "I choose a donkey. Let Alexander the Great ride on the back of his mighty black stallion. Let the Romans ride their dazzling white horses. I’ll use a donkey."
When I went through my divorce I told a close friend that I felt God was trying to get my attention by whacking me over the head with a two by four. Knowing me as he did, he responded by saying, "Why sure! It takes a two by four to get a jackass's attention!"
I know that Jesus wants to enter my community, my home, and my family. And I know that He is choosing me as a means of getting there. But how can He use me? I’m nothing but a donkey!
That’s right. And He loves using donkeys - the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. But before He can use me, I first must be untied and released because I can’t be used if I'm bound up with guilt, sin, and worry. So He sends disciples to untie me, maybe through Sustain, maybe through Restore, or maybe with a word from the Lord just for me through Proclaim. Before the donkey was ridden, he was released. But before he was released, he had to be redeemed. The donkey would die unless a lamb died in its place. And that’s exactly what the Lamb of God did when He died for us!
Blessed I am to be a part of the family of God here at South Church.