“A Horse Is A Horse, Unless Of Course…”


You have probably never heard of Bamboo Harvester (1949-1970). At the young age of 21, Bamboo died of an “inadvertent tranquilizer administered while he was “in retirement” in…Burbank, California where he lived…” (Wikipedia). But if I told you that Bamboo Harvester was better known by his screen name of “Mr. Ed”, you would probably remember the famous talking horse of the TV show that aired from 1961 to 1966. Future generations have been exposed to Mr. Ed though the wonder of syndication. “A horse is a horse unless, of course, his name is Mr. Ed”. When I was a little boy I remember watching the show and being amazed at how Mr. Ed would move his mouth as if he were talking. And although I knew it couldn’t be true, a talking horse, it sure was fun watching one that “appeared” to do so. The story behind how they made Bamboo Harvester talk is interesting.

“…It was initially done by putting a piece of nylon thread in his mouth. But Ed actually learned to move his lips on cue when the trainer touched his hoof. In fact, he soon learned to do it when I, (Co-starAlan Young), stopped talking during a scene! Ed was very smart!” (Wikipedia).

It is amazing what man can create so many things that appear to be, but are not. So it is with some humor that in teaching a Sunday School lesson this past week there is found the story of a talking donkey. The scriptures are silent as to her name, but perhaps Mrs. Ed wouldn’t be a bad guess.

“And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face” (Numbers 22:27-31).

Now, I imagine that this story brings chuckles and ridicule from non believers who think that a talking donkey is just one more example of how ridiculous Bible stories can be and that they are no more than fables. But, as can be attested by the talking Mr. Ed, man can be very creative in making horses, as well as many other animals speak through the miracle of film. I don’t mean to compare the power of God to that of man, but I think it is very clear that if man can make animals appear to speak, certainly God could really have them do so. Why not? The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). When Abraham and Sarah, both past the age of childbearing, doubted the promise of the Lord that they would conceive, He reminded them of His power by saying, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”(Genesis 18:14). With that in mind and with the miracle of the creation all around us, again, I would echo the statement, “Is anything too hard for the Lord”. Keeping in mind that God created the heaven and the earth, wouldn’t it be rather easy for the Lord to open the mouth of a lowly ass and make her talk. Seems to me that it would be a minor problem. Nevertheless, many stumble when reading such things. Why? To me it is not because the story is so “preposterous” as it is a lack of faith in the power of God and the divinity of the Savior.

If man can make a horse talk with strings and training, why the big deal about talking donkeys, parting seas, and fire falling from the heavens. Seems to me that He who created all things would find these things very “minor” when it comes to “miracles”. The Lord knows no bounds; indeed “nothing” is too hard for Him. Let us keep in perspective His might and power and let not our senses be too common. God is a God of miracles! Miracles can be as minor as opening the mouth of an ass to speak, or as great as the creation of man.

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