Donkey Doctrine

1: Donkey Stories

Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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About Donkey Doctrine Series

Learn from those who have gone before how perfectly the Lord will secure a destiny from the inevitable downfall of humanity's donkey nature.


At the time the Lord God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He also laid down specific laws for Israel to follow.  He uttered a strange ordinance about donkeys:

Ex. 13:13 NASB
But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb,
but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck.

The donkey was in a different category than all other animals. It had to be redeemed with blood.  And! The blood of a lamb! To have a donkey you had to sacrifice a lamb. This was the specific law of God.  No other animal had to be redeemed in this way with blood. It was the law of God.

Num. 18:17 NASB
But the first-born of an ox or the first-born of a sheep or the first-born of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke {as} an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the Lord.

Sheep and goats were used for sacrifices unto God and therefore were set apart for His service.  Set apart meant “holy.”  Only the donkey had to be “redeemed” – bought out of something.  Its freedom had to be secured with a price, that price set forth by God as blood, lamb blood.  To have the use of a donkey in Israel, it cost something – it cost another precious life.

The donkey stands for the worst characteristic of humanity: stubbornness.  “Donkey” is resistance… obstinate by intent.  Stubbornness is when a person will not obey, will not listen, will not.  When the will is set in an unmovable “no,” that is donkey.

We were born stubborn. It’s who we are and that stubbornness unchecked will be our downfall.  The loss of all destiny, purpose… God!

Christ Never a Donkey

Jesus is pictured as ox – the servant and lamb – the meek.  But he is never identified with donkey nature.  Ox and sheep are holy. No requirement of blood redemption.  They were used as blood sacrifices, but the donkey, to be of any use, must be born into immediate redemption by lamb’s-blood.

Rebellion comes from stubbornness and that is under Christ’s vast forgiveness.  The blood of the Lamb covers our basic sin identity – that of a donkey.

Sheep we are. Sheep are vulnerable and dumb.  Sheep stands for humanity. Christ Himself became sheep like us…  As humanity, sheep are merely weak, but donkey is our sin nature whose secret root is a set and unyielding heart.

Sheep are dumb. Sheep are believers.  Goats are foolish. Goats are unbelievers, but both were used for the sacrifice of the altar.  Never was a donkey used for an offering.

The Family Donkey Story

My father was an orphan, reared by a French family who adored him. Just for play, he was given his own donkey and cart. One day he and a little friend were playing with the donkey, trying to make him move and pull the cart. The donkey set his heels and could not be budged. They pulled, they begged. They held a carrot in front of his nose.

The donkey would not move.
The donkey won.

Ah, then they had a perfect idea. They would set a little fire under the donkey’s belly, then he would have to move. So they built a pile of sticks and grass under the donkey and started the fire. Sure enough, the donkey moved. He moved ahead just far enough to pull the cart over the fire. The little boys watched helplessly as the cart caught fire, burned completely up.

The donkey still did not move.
The donkey won.

Obstinacy wins. Always.  It gets its way.  A stubborn spirit is incurable.  The only remedy is the blood of a lamb.  Or death.  If there were no blood sacrifice of a lamb, then the law of God required that the donkey’s neck was to be broken, and that meant… death.  “But if you do not redeem it, (meaning the donkey) then you shall break its neck.” The stiff neck always speaks of stubbornness, a attitude of setting your heels and refusing to budge, no matter what the pressure.  Getting your own way, even if it costs you… everything.

Ishmael the Donkey

The angel of the Lord (an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament) said to Hagar in the desert about her son, Ishmael: He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility (before the face of, or in defiance of) to the east all his brothers (Gen. 16:12 NASB).

This is the picture of the donkey.  Ishmael was born enslaved to the donkey-mentality, heir of Abraham’s willful insistence on performing God’s promise apart from God’s will and without God’s power.  Even his persistence to accomplish for God, was actually defiance.

That son of independence could be nothing else but a wild donkey, and down to this very day, Ishmael still lives in a madness of hostility toward his brother, Isaac.  A wild donkey of a man, with no blood-sacrifice-of-the-Lamb, is a dangerous being. Uncontrollable.

A wild donkey will not be captured.  Satan sends chains of slavery, but God sends cords of love.  We have to be caught beings, but Donkey-people will not be captured.  They will not give up their “precious” independence, a rebellious illusion of freedom.

Prov. 26:3 A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey…

A horse can be driven with a whip, but a donkey must be bridled.  A donkey follows his willful, selfish thinking, so his head must be harnessed; it must be forced to turn.

The Hebrew Nation

Israel in the desert was defeated – from within – by their own stubbornness.  Not by the numerous enemies that fought them.  No, they went down into desert graves of never entering the land, simply by the inner stubborn nature to which they buckled.

Israel in Canaan was destroyed – from within – by their own stubbornness that went into idolatry.  The judgment of God called for their capture at the hands of Babylon. The donkey will be bridled.  From within or from without…

Israel in the desert was dissatisfied, but Israel in Canaan displaced Him and made idols in His stead.  The Lord spoke to Moses about the Hebrew nation: I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people (Ex. 32:9 HCSB).  The whole nation – except for two men – perished in the wilderness, their necks broken at last but only by the grave.

The Lord spoke to Jeremiah, about Israel: Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction (Jer. 17:23 NASB).  Israel was taken into Babylon as slaves.  Their land and their holy temple destroyed by fire, the judgment of God on their unbending stubborn nature.  A nature which will not listen or take correction.

Death in the desert… having never reached home.
Slavery in a cruel land… losing the home you gained.

Such is the fruit of stubbornness.

And in the end, that intractable willfulness blinds you to the presence of the Lamb in your very midst, the Lamb whose blood is the ancient remedy for stubbornness.

Abraham Rode a Donkey

Answering the call of God, Abraham mounted a donkey and journeyed to the Mountain of Moriah, for the most costly sacrifice: the deliberate offering of a sole beloved child.  Lad of Promise.  Abraham heard this command – totally against God’s nature and His promise.  A Divine Command, nevertheless.

The three-day journey on the donkey’s back was the process of breaking his will unto the death of his dreams and even of God’s very promise.  Riding the donkey, Abraham bridled that unflinching nature of humanity as the power to ride out God’s strange will.  The stubbornness to resist God, he turned into a power of adamant obedience.  He left the conquered donkey at the base of the mountain and climbed as a fully surrendered man, free of any resistance, (given the faith) to go up to “worship.”  One who could leave the promise entirely with God, having no opposition to His will.

And Abraham determinedly obeyed.  Overriding his innate stubbornness against God, he harnessed it to serve the Father’s Deadly Purpose.

Joseph Used the Donkey

Joseph hid his silver cup in the donkey’s pack. Why there?  Because his brothers were stubborn.  They were donkeys. Their father, Jacob, called Issachar a donkey.  Issachar is a strong-boned donkey lying down between two sheepfolds (Gen. 49:14).  They had resisted Joseph’s God-anointing.  They had to be broken of donkeyness before Joseph could bless them with the fruit of his own surrender.  In the Egypt of slavery, Joseph had been crushed and broken of his inherent resistance to God.

In secret, he had worked to break his natural defiance of the plan of God until he could know with all his battered heart, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20).  That is the destruction of stubbornness.

Copyright © 2000 Martha Blaney Kilpatrick, Donkey Doctrine

Other Articles in Donkey Doctrine Series

1: Donkey Stories (Currently Viewing)
2: Donkey Ways 3: Balaam 4: King on a Donkey 5: Beast of Burden
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