Friday after Ad te levavi, the First Sunday in Advent
Posted on December 7, 2018 byunder
Scripture: Numbers 24:14-25 (NKJV)
24:14 “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.
King Balak kept making great promises to Balaam in hopes that the curses would come about. Prophecies, however, must always remain true to the Word of the Lord, and Balaam confessed to this in the verses that precede today’s text: “So Balaam said to Balak, ‘Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, “If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak”?'” (Num. 24:12-13).
This is the same thing that happens as pastors stay true to the Word of God in their preaching, teaching, and practice (or, at least, it’s supposed to happen). Balaam prophesies of the time when one would come who would “destroy all the sons of tumult.” This is not only faithful prophecy, it is faithful preaching and teaching, for it is Christ crucified who conquered not just the sons of tumult, but His fully atoning merits conquered sin, death, Hell, and the devil!
As Balaam prophesied about the conquering Christ to come, through those brought to properly carry out Word and Sacrament Ministry Christ continues His prophetic role. Man, sadly, is weak and vulnerable, and forgoes God’s truth for the sake of self-comfort or self-security. Balaam reveals this (as he eventually turns from God to help Balak capture God’s people), and many pastors these days simply forgo faithful preaching and teaching to give the people what their itching ears want to hear. But how joyous to know that God keeps a remnant for Himself to carry on His truth to future generations!
Pray Psalm 92
1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, 3 on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound.
4 For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. 5 O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. 6 A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. 7 When the wicked spring up like grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever.
8 But You, LORD, are on high forevermore.
9 For behold, Your enemies, O LORD, for behold, Your enemies shall perish; All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. 10 But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. 11 My eye also has seen my desire on my enemies; My ears hear my desire on the wicked who rise up against me.
12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, 15 to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.