A Star Out of Jacob

Numbers 22-24 is a passage that deals with a fellow we’re familiar with–Balaam. He was a prophet in Moab. They were on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Israel was on its last leg of the journey to the Promised Land and they had to travel through Moab.

Balaam was something else, a freelance prophet. He was a heathen. Moses’ father-in-law was the priest for Israel. Out of Balaam’s mouth would come a prophecy telling of something to come that would bless both Moab and Israel.

King Balak of Moab was the one to call on Balaam to curse Israel. He couldn’t do it. Instead, one of the greatest Old Testament prophecies about God sending his son to save man from sin would come. We have prophecies all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Most of Israel would be familiar with them. This one is made from the mouth of a would be, fake prophet with nothing but greed in his heart. When he consulted his gods and mediums, the Holy Spirit straightened him out telling him he’d better not curse Israel.

Numbers 24:12 And Balaam said unto Balak, Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me, saying, 13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak? 14 And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days. 15 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: 16 He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: 17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. 18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. 19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.

Yes. I’m still on Christmas! It’s a week behind us and we’re all over the holiday. Never forget what Christmas is all about. It should never be over with. The holiday has to go and sales just change names. Christmas never goes away because Jesus is established as the Savior who came. He was born of a virgin and lived 33 years. He’s established as one taken by sinful hands to die for all of Adam’s race. He died. It’s established that he was buried and rose again. Because of this we’ll rise again. Jesus is established as the risen Savior, Lord of Lords and King of Kings. You can’t do away with Christmas, Easter, Jesus or the Bible. It matters not how many Balaams are out there.

Balaam wanted money for his words. The power of the devil is great but God is greater. Balak was scared Israel would take over the land of Moab. God had no intention of that; Israel was to only pass through. God has no intention of us getting bogged down in this world. We’re strangers and pilgrims passing through. Yet Balak felt threatened. We scare the devil when we pray and when we come to church. He’ll try to get the prophets of this world to bring you down. God takes care of his people. We’d not be here if not for God. If we only realized what God has protected us from.

None of the leaders of Israel are mentioned. God took Balaam on. He took Balak on. The king had used Balaam’s services before and paid him well to curse his enemies. Now he’s worried about Israel and they’ve done nothing. We’re not to be militant Christians. We’re to do good and try to get people saved. You can’t beat the devil out of the lost or Jesus into them. Only Jesus can get the devil out of a person. I’m thankful for the ones who witnessed to me. Let’s be shining lights in the world.

Balaam was faced with the choice of which spirit to call on. He had been promised a lot of money. While he thought on it, the Spirit of God came and warned him not to curse Israel. When Balaam was to open his mouth God would take over. Never trust anyone who tries to show you salvation in a ritual or a sacrament or in a man. There is one mediator between God and man: Christ Jesus. There is one Savior: Jesus. We are saved by grace through faith.

Balak brought Balaam out to do the job. When he opened his mouth he blessed Israel instead. He honored their God as the only true God. Balak got mad and gave Balaam more opportunities to do it. Each time he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t get around God. Begging for a curse on Israel Balaam opened his mouth in verse 17 and said this: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

The difference in Balaam’s time and now is that today is the now and God is near. Today is the day of salvation. Jesus is nigh unto them who are afar off by the blood of Christ. That’s the good thing about today. God is near; he is now. You can be saved. As a believer you are now a Christian. You don’t wait to get to heaven for it. You have victory now.

Balaam had no history with God but he met him face to face with a warning. Verse 19 says Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city. When Moses and Joshua heard this you know they knew what God meant because they knew previous prophecies. They knew the promises. It was a little further down the road from King David. What do we read in the book of Matthew?  Wise men saw his star rise out of the east. They were unfamiliar with the town of the birth. They had partial knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures. However, they most likely had heard of Balaam’s prophecy to the Gentiles. God let everyone know by the star but the only ones to take note of it were the wise men. The only ones to take notice of the hillside outside of Bethlehem being lit up during the night by angels were a few shepherds.

You may think you’re the last Christian standing but you’re not. You can still travel through your Moab’s. Israel made it through. We can too. The star hung around long after the birth. Jesus was not in the manger when the wise men found him; he was in a house.

You can be saved and made nigh to God. You can see him now. Jesus is ready to save you. The only one preventing it is yourself. Reach out to the Lord and feel the starlight upon you.

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