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April 7: Numbers 24-25 | Proverbs 17 | Ephesians 5-6

Reading 1 - Num 24:17-19

"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city" (Num 24:17-19).

Balaam's prediction concerns the rise of David and the Davidic kingdom. The "star" refers to David -- who struck down the Moabites (Num 24:17; 2Sa 8:2) and the Edomites (Num 24:18; 2Sa 8:13,14; 1Ki 11:15,16; 1Ch 18:12,13). Thus, under David, Israel prospered and the nations round about were subjugated and often had to bring tribute (eg, 2Sa 8:2,6).

But, the prophecy cannot be exhausted at this point, for David did not completely destroy Moab and Edom, with the result that later writers would be free to use this imagery to speak of the one who would come and deal ultimately with the enemies of God.

The use of the term "star" does more than point to a ruler; it also connects that ruler with heaven. The birth of Jesus was connected with heavenly signs (Mat 2:2), and one of his titles is "the bright Morning Star" (Luk 1:78-79; Rev 22:16) -- used in connection with his descent from the line of David. When he returns from heaven to conquer the enemies of God, and to set up God's kingdom, his advent will be accompanied by other signs in the heavens (Mat 24:29,30; Mark 13:24,25).

Reading 2 - Pro 17:3

"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart" (Pro 17:3).