Scripture Study – NUMBERS 24:17
Okay, it may be a bit early for a blog-POST about A “STAR” at Christmas, especially since I’ve been reading and studying in the Book of Numbers in the OT of the Bible. I don’t believe in ‘happenstance,’ so before venturing down a dead-end road I prayed and asked God for some answers to the timing of this POST. Why had God’s Spirit given me this particular verse at this particular time?
Here is how He answered my questions:
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV Bible)
 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
So after meditating on God’s answer from His Word, I began to consider our Saviors birth and the details knowing that Jesus’ birth is amazing at any time of the year and not just during the Christmas holidays.
CONSIDERING THE DETAILS OF JESUS’ BIRTH…
Would we have planned it that way? None of us would choose to lay our newborn in a trough where animals had fed. I wouldn’t have.
BUT THAT WAS GOD’S WAY FOR HIS SON!
Maybe we would have thought, “Yea! Let’s send some angels!”
Would we have sent them to no-name shepherds, out in the country where no one else could see them? I wouldn’t!
GOD’S WAY IS NOT OUR WAY!!
But God’s Way Does Not Fail!
That’s something for us to take heart to, especially when tragedies in the world recently make us want to cry out, “Why God, why this way? It’s too hard for me to understand!” But His Way doesn’t fail!
With that thought in mind, look closely now at this PROPHESY from NUMBERS 24. I think you’ve heard this Prophesy many times before and you know how it’s fulfilled in JESUS.
But after looking at the CONTEXT of the verse, God’s Way becomes all the more AMAZING!
His Way Amazes!
This PROPHECY didn’t come about in the usual way. It wasn’t spoken directly by the LORD when He promised the Savior to Adam and Eve or to Abraham. The words weren’t unspoken by a BELIEVING PROPHET of Israel–Isaiah or Micah. It was spoken by someone whom we would call a Sorcerer. His name was Balaam, son of Beor.
As the story begins, the LORD had brought ISRAEL out of Egypt about 40 years earlier. And now was the time to enter the Promised Land.
On the east side of the Jordan River, Israel’s armies had defeated Sihon, king of the Amorites and Og, king of Bashan. So when the people of Moab saw this, they became terrified! Can you imagine over 601,000 combat-ready troops approaching the city where you live?
Then king Balak, son of Zippor took action. If the Amorites couldn’t stand against Israel, he figured he couldn’t either, so he tried another tactic. He sent an envoy to Balaam, son of Beor in Pethor. He wanted to employ Balaam to CURSE Israel. If they were CURSED, perhaps the outcome of the battle would be to their favor.
That night the LORD told Balaam not to go and he sends the envoy back to king Balak the next day. But Balak was persistent and sent more princes who were more distinguished and promised Balaam with even greater rewards.
That night the LORD allowed him to go, IF, and only IF, he did exactly what the LORD would tell him. As Balaam sets out, he apparently had decided in his heart, not to do what the LORD would tell him. You know, the old crossed fingers behind the back tradition.
The angel of the LORD stood in his way and would have killed him on the spot, except Balaam’s donkey saw the angel and went off the path around him. Since Balaam couldn’t see the angel, he became angry with his donkey. Finally, for the third time, there was no room for the donkey to go around and it sat down and Balaam beat the poor animal.
AND THEN THE DONKEY SPOKE:
“Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” (Numbers 22:29 NIV)
And the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel, agreeing to speak ONLY what the LORD told him.
Now King Balak readied seven altars with sacrifices in preparation for Balaam to curse Israel. But instead of a CURSE, Balaam spoke a BLESSING instead since those were the words of the LORD.
King Balak had Balaam try again at another place and again he blessed Israel.
They tried a third time and instead of resorting to SORCERY as he had on previous occasions, Balaam continued to BLESS Israel as the LORD had told him. By now, King Balak was furious! But before he left, Balaam spoke some more words with a BLESSING and PROPHECY, including the Text for this BLOG-POST in Numbers 24:17 (NIV) –
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A STAR will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.”
His Way Brings Hope!
People have looked to the STARS for hope throughout the ages past. Ancient astrologers tried to predict the future from the Stars. Modern science looks to the Stars to find new planets, a new hope when the earth is dried up.
Then we have celebrities, movie stars, and people look to them for hope and inspiration. But how they disappoint! All those different kinds of STARS are FALSE Hope.
But these words in Numbers 24:17 are spoken from such an unlikely source, these words were spoken almost three and a half millenniums ago, these words are THINGS spoken that don’t disappoint.
For God’s Ways Do Not Fail!
That STAR did come at the right time and was laid in a manger.
How many years had passed for God’s way to work out according to His schedule of GRACE, not our schedule of instant gratification.
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not now”
Numbers 24:17 (NIV).
Almost 1500 years after these words were spoken before THAT STAR came.
But He did come! The LORD keeps His Word! And that should bring us all HOPE. Hope doesn’t disappoint or prove false.
For the LORD keeps His Promises.
In Moments of the Darkness of Sin…what does the Hope of the Star Bring?
How dark the night can be! But even in pitch-blackness of night, doesn’t even compare to the DARKNESS of Sin… the shroud of DEATH. And since everyone is born into this DARKNESS [Romans 3:23; 5:12; Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5], our natural self-thinks that it’s normal.
But God didn’t make us be creatures of the night; rather, He wants us to be His children of the Light. Now, this goes against our inherited nature. We don’t want to be seen by others as naked; our hearts laid bare, our secret sins exposed, our self-imagined goodness. We cling to artificial lights to make us feel good by our own efforts, running from the TRUE LIGHT.
BUT DARKNESS AND SELF-IMAGINED LIGHT….end in Death and Hell. NO HOPE, NO JOY. Only the weeping and gritting (gnashing) of teeth [Matthew 13:42].
BUT LOOK! A STAR HAS RISEN!
And this STAR shines into the DARKNESS…THE TRUE LIGHT!
This Star has worked a marvelous change in you and me–that worked a NEW BIRTH in us– A REBIRTH! We who had been born children of darkness, we were reborn:
John 1:13 (The MESSAGE Bible)
“The Life-Light was the real thing. Every person entering Life, he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.”
SO THIS STAR brings you and me HOPE!
He has shattered the DARKNESS OF SIN, bring the LIGHT of forgiveness. Thar was God’s Way to save you and me, namely to send His Son into our DARKNESS, so that He took our guilt upon Himself and died in our place as the SACRIFICE for our sin, and so ransomed us with His blood.
How far above our ways! God’s Way doesn’t fail!
His Way Prevails!
COMFORT comes with this Prophecy when it talks about the SCEPTOR.
God’s Way will not fail, for that STAR who shines into the darkness to SAVE US, is the SCEPTOR. He, JESUS, is the KING who has redeemed us to be His people.
HE IS YOUR KING…for He ransomed YOU with His blood!
He carries the SCEPTOR, for He has conquered SIN, Satan, and Death for you, risen from the grave in Victory and Glory for you.
He carries the SCEPTOR, for He is the Almighty God and He reigns over all at the Father’s right hand.
I thought about that for a minute. Think of it when said and done. When a foreign King. a pagan Sorcerer plotted to undermine God’s plan for His people, the LORD used a dumb donkey to set things right. GOD’S WAY DOESN’T FAIL!
He even used that pagan sorcerer to speak a wonderful promise of the Savior. A PROMISE that stirs HOPE in our hearts still today…each and every day of the year.
So whatever you are facing right now, whatever the circumstance you find yourself in, look to the STAR in the manger. see His Scepter, follow Him in HOPE!
“The peace of God that surpasses all understanding
keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Amen.
You might enjoy this Music Video at the end of this Blog-Post from YouTube: A STAR IS BORN! “Mary Did You Know?”
Photos: Google Image Search – Settings, Advance search.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV), unless stated in the text.