Friday after Ad te levavi, The First Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Numbers 24:14-25 (NKJV)
14 “And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.” 15 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; 16 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: 17 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. 18 And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, while Israel does valiantly. 19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, and destroy the remains of the city.”
20 Then he looked on Amalek, and he took up his oracle and said: “Amalek was first among the nations, but shall be last until he perishes.”
21 Then he looked on the Kenites, and he took up his oracle and said: “Firm is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the rock; 22 Nevertheless Kain shall be burned. How long until Asshur carries you away captive?”
23 Then he took up his oracle and said: “Alas! Who shall live when God does this? 24 But ships shall come from the coasts of Cyprus, and they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Eber, and so shall Amalek, until he perishes.” 25 So Balaam rose and departed and returned to his place; Balak also went his way.
Balaam was a renown prophet in the area. Balak, King of Moab, had called upon Balaam to curse the people of Israel. Balaam had refused the king’s offer saying he could only speak the words God gave him. With each request by King Balak for Balaam to curse the people of Israel, the Lord answers back with prophecy about Israel being blessed and Moab and the surrounding lands being conquered.
Yesterday’s reading, specifically Gen. 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,” offers some help with understanding this prophecy. Also helpful is Hebrew 1:8, “But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.'” Balaam prophesies of the time when one would come who would “destroy all the sons of tumult.”
On the Cross, Jesus defeated Satan and all his minions, “all the sons of tumult.” God’s One and only Son, Who rose from the dead, now lives and reigns forever. Though we wander in this wilderness and are assaulted by Satan, we have God’s promise “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Though King Balak made great promises to Balaam in order to have Balaam curse the people of Israel, Balaam would not: “What the Lord says, that I must speak.” Sadly, Balaam would later turn from God and show King Balak how to trap God’s people. Our assurance is that God will never turn His back on us.
Lord, bless me so that I always hold fast to Your Word. Amen.