I was reading the book of Exodus the other day. That’s strange, why do you need to break its neck? What is so significant about a donkey? I do not recall God saying that about any other animal.
It made me search for other scriptures about donkeys.
There are several.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey colt – a picture of humility and poverty. Not on a horse. This was a picture of Him coming first as a servant, to fulfil the instructions of the Father: salvation to humanity.
Is this why the firstborn donkey’s neck should be broken? Could this be a foreshadowing of the sacrifice Jesus made to save all who would believe in Him from eternal death?
Interestingly elsewhere in Scripture God told Israel not to go back to Egypt to get horses. A horse has superior strength to a donkey. Could it be He does not want us to rely on our own understanding, our own strength?
A donkey is also called a “pakesel” in Afrikaans, i.e. an animal to load things onto – a beast of burden. Perhaps that is why in Old Testament times it was an important animal: people needed it to fulfil their tasks, to help them carry things. Could that be why the Israelites would rather redeem the firstborn donkey than give it to the Lord?
The sin of the world was the load Jesus carried.
Nehemiah inspected the state of the wall at night on his donkey, in secret.
I think a donkey represents the load we carry in this life: our plans and visions, and like Nehemiah in the Old Testament, it might be that others are unaware of what our load is.
Is it possible that when what our donkey carries become too important to us, God needs to break its neck? Kill the dream? He said not to make an idol of anything.
I ask myself whether there is anything on my donkey that I hold onto so tightly that God would need to kill the donkey for me to let go of it?
In Afrikaans, there is a saying “hy is ‘n steeks donkie”. It refers to someone who has dug in his heels and cannot be moved. Perhaps there could be serious consequences when we stubbornly refuse to action God’s instructions.
It was not only Pharoah’s firstborn son that died but all the firstborn sons of all the people. Also the firstborn males of the animals. Could this reference to Pharoah, the leader of Egypt, mean that the stubbornness of a leader could have negative consequences to an entire nation?
God gave Israel a way out, but they had to carefully follow His instructions to be “passed over” by the angel to save their firstborn sons. The Passover is a foreshadowing of Jesus, our only way out.
Paul said, “only those who believe that He is the way, and confess that with their mouths, will be saved”.