Hamor’s First Job
(c) Copyright 2005 Rev. Bill Versteeg
Note: In this story, Hamor says what all donkey's say
“ee-aw." Teach the children to say it as a donkey
would. The "ee" is said as the donkey breaths out through
both mouth and nose, the "aw" is said as aid is breathed back in
through the mouth. Saying "ee-aw" like a real donkey is more
difficult and the children will find it an exciting challenge.
But he was young, “to young” his owner argued to be facing the tasks of the real world, too young to carry the loads of grain to the Jerusalem temple to feed the animals there who were sold for temple rituals. He would have to sit a wait, tied to the door of his stall, till his mother returned from work outside of the town of Bethphage. He would get a little milk from her and they would graze for a while under the watchful care of their owner. Besides the owner figured, his donkey could live up to 50 years, why wear him out when he is young.
So Hamor stood waiting, all day long. Day in day out, he waited for his mother, patiently, like only donkeys can be patient. As the heat of the day increased, the little air pockets in his fir would keep him cool. When flies came to rest of his back, he would swat them with his long flyswatter tail. But even donkeys would warm up in the heat of the day, and when it did, Hamor would do what all donkeys do, wag their ears back and forth. You see a donkey’s ears are his air conditioning system. To each of his long ears there are many blood vessels, and when he waved his ears in the wind, the blood cools, cooling his whole body. And so, it wasn’t too hard to wait, day in day out, for his mom to come home every night, for a drink of milk and some more food. This was something he could endure. But he would rather be working. His body, now two and a half years old had already developed lots of muscles and he really really wanted to put them to work.
“A little longer,” his master would say noticing that the small donkey wanted to go to work with his mother. Every day, it was “a little longer.” His day would come, and Hamor was determined to be ready for it.
Once again, his mom had to go to work, and all Hamor could do was stand around and wait and smile a “Hi” to people who walked by and a “ee-aw” for his friends. The day started like all the others.
But just after lunch, as the heat of the day just started to arise, some men walked right up to him. He did the usual - ears up, upper lip pulled back “Hi, how ya doin.” They did not call him by name, they simply untied the rope that kept him attached to the gate. As quickly as his ears had popped up to say “Hi”, now they fell back and with his mouth open, he was about to say “ee-aw” in complaint, but then the neighbors boys came to his defense.
“What are you doing untying Hamor’s rope?” they asked, wondering who in the world these people thought they were. It was good to have friends, Hamor thought to himself. His upper lip pulled a smile as they spoke.
‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
The Lord. These words were strong words, a name with authority. An authority that no one questioned. If the Lord needs it, the Lord gets it. And if the Lord promises something will be returned, it will be returned. His friends in the neighbourhood stood back, and before Hamor knew it, he was on his way to his first job.
He wondered what it would be, with these strange men he did not know. Would he be, like his mother carrying something for the offerings in the temple? He did not know. If it was OK with his friends, it was OK for him. He followed the men out of town on the road from Bethphage to Jerusalem. He knew this was the way his mom walked everyday with a load on her back for the animals in the temple.
Hamor and the men came up to a crowd. Everybody looked at him, like he was suddenly the donkey of the hour. So Hamor, with his head held high walked into the crowd with the man until he came to the center - and there waiting for him, he saw it, he knew it - there waiting for him was the Lord, who needed him.
Quickly, coats and cloaks were put
on Hamor’s back to make a comfortable saddle. And the Lord
was lifted onto him. With a tap on his side, Hamor started walking
where his mother always walked, on the way to Jerusalem, with the Lord
on his back.
They came to the temple. The sun had just set. The sky would quickly go dark. The Lord placed his hand on Hamor’s neck, by it said “Thank you!” and then he walked away into the temple. Hamor was ready to wait for him, but soon his owner came and reminded Hamor and his mother that it would be a long walk back to Bethphage and tomorrow would be another day of work - this time for both of them.
The next day, Hamor was awoken early in the morning. Now he too would carry loads of grain into Jerusalem, to the temple to supply food for the animals and grain sold for the offerings. “It’s my life’s purpose to carry these offering supplies.” Hamor thought. Little did he know that it would not be long before the offerings in the temple would stop, and the reason why was because on that one day, his first day on the job, Hamor had carried the offering itself, the once and for all offering, the offering that would take the place of all the other offerings. He had carried the Lord, as an offering, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, on his back, to the place he would die for our sins. Later in his life, Hamor would have to find another job, like helping to carry sick people, or carrying food for hungry people. But he would never forget the day, that he got to carry the Lord.
The passage on which this story is based:
(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.