The Christmas Star
“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 [a]batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of [b]tumult. ~ Num 24:17
The Israelites were on the march from Egypt to the Promised Land. But to get there they had to go through Moab. As the children of Israel drew closer, the people of Moab became frightened. Eventually the Moabite king invited a popular seer (prophet) named Balaam to come and curse them, but Balaam discovered he could only speak words given him by God, which led him to utter blessings, not curses. Then, in the midst of blessing Israel, a surprising thing happened. God showed Balaam the future. He saw the birth of King David (Num. 24:17), a birth that was yet 400 years away. He also saw the birth of King Jesus, nearly 1,500 years away. It was Balaam who first connected a star with Jesus’ birth. This is God’s first reference to the heavenly light that would guide the Magi of Babylon all the way to Bethlehem. Like the “sceptre” in Gen. 49:10, this star refers to the Messiah’s kingship. This entire text in Numbers 24 is designed to say to the king of Moab, “If you think you’re are a great king, you haven’t seen anything until Jesus reigns!” Parting Thought: If you study today’s Scripture passage carefully you will see that it is difficult to decide which part speaks about David, and which part speaks of the Messiah. David was another of God’s reminders that someday a great king would come to rule the world.