Numbers 24

Those who oppose God and His people will sooner or later be made to see themselves wretchedly deceived.

1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.

3 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said:

4 He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

5 How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!

6 As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.

7 He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.

8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.

9 He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.

10 ¶ And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.

11 Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the LORD hath kept thee back from honour.

12 And Balaam said unto Balak, Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me, saying,

13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak?

14 And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.

15 ¶ And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said:

16 He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.

19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.

20 ¶ And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.

21 And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.

22 Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.

23 And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!

24 And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.

25 And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.

Numbers 24:1-14 – Balaam’s Vision of Israel’s Prosperity

   In these remarkable words Balaam describes the condition and prospects of God’s people. They reveal the innermost thought which even a bad, double-dealing man has of the saint. Balaam had his times of illumination, when he touched the very truth of things. A man may know and speak truth, which he does not himself obey. Would that we all realized the high ideals which sinful men have of religion!
   We are intended to be as gardens by the river, lign-aloes planted by the Lord, and cedars fed by perennial streams. Oh, for more of exalted royalty of soul, the invincible strength, the victory that eats up the adversary, and actually feeds on what threatens to destroy! We can only attain to such an ideal by a close union with the risen Savior. Let us live on the plane which is ours in Him and for which He imparts the Holy Spirit! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 24:2—The Spirit of God came upon him.

   This is a solemn warning for us all. Balaam said truly, but he perished miserably. He heard the words of God, and saw the vision of the Almighty; but because he loved the wages of unrighteousness, and taught Balak to cast the stumbling-block of licentiousness before the children of Israel, he was slain in battle by the people whom he had blamed. He wished to die the death of the righteous, but was overtaken in that of the apostate. How near we may come to the gates of salvation, and yet perish miserably without!
   Distinguish between unction and union—Hooper, the greatest of English divines, says: “We are not to confuse the grace of union with the grace of unction.” It is possible to be united to the Lord Jesus in regeneration, without receiving the enduement of the Holy Spirit for service; and it is possible, like Saul, to be anointed for high office, without being truly regenerate. Official position may be worthily filled, and yet the heart be all awry.
   Distinguish between gift and grace.—We may be able to speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have the gift of prayer, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and yet be without love. The most gifted souls are by no means the most gracious. Desire earnestly the greater gifts, if you will; but be very sure that your heart is established with grace.
   Distinguish between vision and realization.—To see the fair land from afar, as Balaam did, is not enough; we must place our foot down on its soil, and go into it to possess. It is not enough to have an intellectual appreciation of the blessed life and the way to enter it; not enough to extol or proclaim it. We must make it ours by humility and faith. —Our Daily Homily

Numbers 24:15-25 – The “Star out of Jacob”

   When your heart is dismayed because of the hatred and opposition of Satan; the great accuser, turn to this chapter. If he stands up to resist, the Son of God stands in your defense. The Eternal God is on your side, not because you are perfect, but because you have linked your little life with Jesus Christ in His glory and beauty. In Deuteronomy 23:5 we learn the blessed secret that explained Balaam’s failure.
   Balaam describes in glowing anticipation Israel’s future, and his forecast is marvelously accurate. It is clear that a man may speak the truth of which his soul is destitute, as a marble fountain may dispense water which it does not taste.
   Balaam started for his home, but never reached it. You may long to die the death of the righteous, but it is a vain dream unless you live their life. Compare Numbers 23:10 with Numbers 31:8. —Through the Bible Day by Day