Daily Thought for: 14th January

STAR OUT OF JACOB

Numbers 24. 15-25

The verses above contain the fourth prophesy of Balaam in response to the king of Moab. The background is that Israel, now approaching the Promised Land, have just been resisted by two of the local kings, Sihon and Og. Their opposition to Israel, who only wanted to pass through their territory, resulted in disastrous defeat for the two kings. The next group of people Israel encounter are the Moabites, descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughter. They, and their king Balak, are terrified and seek to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites. However, God intervenes and, in three prophecies, Balaam has only been able to bless Israel, as he does for the fourth time here in our reading today.

This prophecy looks beyond the immediate situation to the One whom Balaam will ‘see’ and ‘behold’, but this is not ‘now’ and not ‘near’, v. 17. This One is called ‘A Star out of Jacob’ and ‘a Sceptre ... out of Israel’ One who ‘shall have dominion’ v. 19. This One is clearly the Lord Jesus. We have seen Him with the ‘Sceptre’, as ‘Shiloh’, descending from one of Jacob’s sons, Judah. Now, He is the ‘Star out of Jacob’.

When stars are referred to in scripture, the context tells us whether it refers to literal stars, angels, Jacob’s sons, Gen. 37.9, or the Lord Jesus. He is the ‘Morning Star’, Rev. 22. 16, previously referred to in Rev. 2. 28, and 2 Pet. 1.19, as the ‘daystar’. The reference in Revelation 22 presents Him to us as One who will soon reiurn, the other references present the impact of this coming on all concerned.

In Numbers 24 we see Him coming in retribution on the enemies of His people. Even today, the powers of this world are massing against God’s earthly people Israel, just as Balak did, and against His church. Surely it will not be long until Christ will return and rescue His people, bringing judgement on the ungodly. We are presented with His coming as a reassurance after the dark days of scoffers and false teachers, 2 Pet. 1.19. He is seen as a reward for those who overcome, Rev. 2. Today, we would echo the words of the closing chapter of scripture, the bride says ‘Come’, Rev. 22.17, and ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus’, v. 20.

 

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