In this season of Advent, I am reading through the book of Numbers. Not very Christmas-y, I’m afraid. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, in chapter 24.
“So he took up his oracle and said: ‘The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, and the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened; the utterance of him who hears the words of God, and has the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes wide open: I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult. And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, while Israel does valiantly. Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, and destroy the remains of the city.’ ” ~ Numbers 24:15-19
Wow. Out of the mouth of the pagan prophet Balaam, who didn’t have sense enough to listen to words spoken to him from the mouth of his donkey (chapter 22), nor to obey the One True God, came these beautiful descriptions of Jesus. We are told that “the Spirit of God came upon him” (24:2b). The Spirit can use anyone to communicate God’s message to us!
“A Star shall come out of Jacob”. Star, in the Hebrew kowkab, directly refers to Messiah and to God’s omniscience. “A Scepter shall rise out of Israel”. Scepter, in the Hebrew shebet, refers to a rod, staff, branch, offshoot. Where else have we heard that used in reference to Messiah, Jesus?
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” ~ Isaiah 11:1-5
Jesus came to earth the first time as a lowly babe, fully man and fully God, born into poverty and pain. He grew up, showed us “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6), and paid the penalty for our sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23) when He died upon the cross. Then He conquered death’s power when He rose again from the dead. He lives! And He is coming again, for all of us who belong to Him! Oh happy day!
Do you belong to Jesus? Take Him into your heart, make room for Him in your “inn” today!
Joy to the world! The LORD is come! Let earth receive her King!