31 JULY (PREACHED CHRISTMAS EVENING 1777)
A Star in sight
‘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.’ Numbers 24:17
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Revelation 22:7–21
How useless to the believer—gifts without grace! Judas an apostle, Balaam a prophet, etc. In the words we have:
(i) his certainty—I see, I behold. What the Lord reveals is clear and sure.
(ii) an interval—not now, or nigh, but through a series of ages. From his character, we may consider the words as spoken without personal hope—not as Job, I know my Redeemer liveth [Job 19:25]. Uncomfortable thought to see him, as the rich man saw Lazarus—afar off.
It is Christ called a Star—not a conducting star as Matthew 2, but the bright morning star whose approach brings on the day. The Day Star, the Sun, the Light of the Gentiles, the Glory of Israel—he shall arise and shine. Jesus is the Sun, the source of life, light and comfort, the light and life of the world.
His Sceptre—his rule and government of his kingdom, of which there shall be no end.
His victories—He shall smite the corners of Moab. Moab and Edom are types of all adversary and antichristian powers.
Sheth perhaps was some place in Moab. Some understand it of men in general and the word may be rendered ‘to subdue’. He will conquer all his enemies, and all by nature are his enemies—the hearts of his people are a stronghold till he forces and wins them. This Scripture was fulfilled in type in David who conquered Moab. Jesus subdues by love, but those that finally resist he will destroy.
FOR MEDITATION: Have you seen this Star? Has he shined into your hearts? If so, be thankful. Rejoice that he came into the world. If asked, how knew you he was born today?—no matter, you may keep Christmas all the year round. If not, remember you must see him (Revelation 1). Have you submitted to his Sceptre? Surely yes, if you have indeed seen him. But remember, he must and will rule. He will be glorified in you either in mercy or subjection.
SERMON: NUMBERS 24:17 [1/1]