"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 24

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

NUMBERS 24: “No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper” – by James Fire
For the full message, watch it on the Facebook video!

INTRODUCTION: “Balaam laid aside the enchantments which he had previously depended on; he used no spells, nor charms, nor magic arts, finding that they did no good; it was fruitless to deal with the devil for a curse, when it was plain that God was determined resolutely to bless, NUM 24:1.

Sooner or later God will convince men of their folly in seeking after lying vanities, which cannot profit. To what purpose should Balaam seek for enchantment? He knew that God was untouchable.” ~ from Matthew Henry’s Commentary in NUMBERS 24

Not only did Balaam and his Canaanite company find occultic incantations useless, but this soothsayer discovered that GOD can even reveal His prophetic and blessed future for Israel to the likes of him and king Balak.

NUMBERS 24:1-4
1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. 3 Then he took up his oracle and said: "The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened, 4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Who falls down, with eyes wide open
:

The Hebrew expression for “pleased the LORD” reveals that GOD has an overflowing pleasure in blessing His people, like a sparkling fountain of pure water that satisfies like nothing else can, GOD is greatly pleased and contented to bless His people Israel. Mothers who cook meals for their families and see them with robust appetites eating heartily, have some idea what GOD feels like when His people are blessed.

Balaam is getting a sense of the futility in cursing Israel and understands that there is absolutely no hope whatsoever of using enchantment against GOD’s people and thereby gain the vast reward promised by king Balak.
But this false prophet eventually comes up with a back-up plan (perhaps it occurred to him sooner rather than later?) but it would accomplish king Balak’s purpose just as effectively as any curse, and we’ll see about this in NUMBERS 31 which connects with the events that takes place in the 25th chapter of NUMBERS.

Again, it states that Balaam “saw Israel encamped”, and the image of the 12 tribes forming a cross is evident to us, not to Balaam; he was clueless, but we aren’t. We know the dynamic, delivering power of the Cross declares defeat of all the devil’s designs for destruction.

As we saw last week, Israel was under GOD’s protection in that camp just as they were protected by the angel of death, under the blood of the sacrificed lambs on the very first Passover in Egypt; we also have His protection as we abide under the shadow of the Cross and saved by the blood of The LAMB of GOD!

The Spirit of God came upon Balaam, as the LORD did upon Saul to prevent him from taking David (1 SAM 19:18-24). This sorcerer spoke not by his own will, but by the Spirit.

I still find it remarkable that GOD’s Spirit could come upon and speak through a pagan prophet – but then again, if the LORD could open the mouth of a donkey that possesses no vocal chords, this shouldn’t be too surprising!
Balaam “sees the vision of the Almighty” and this is without a doubt prophetic vision that GOD has given to him.

We read this expression a couple of times in our text: “Eyes wide open”. According to ancient literature this refers to the trance state of prophets or as they are sometimes called, “seers” (2 KINGS 17:13; 2 CHRON 33:18; ISAIAH 30:10).

Some commentators believe that Balaam is boasting about his eyes being opened to see what others can’t see. Who hears what others can’t hear.
How different are the hearts of His servants, who when they see GOD in truth are humbled like the prophet Isaiah (ISAIAH 6:5), and upon receiving GOD’s revelation, fall prostrate in worship of the Almighty, like Daniel the prophet and the apostle John (REV 1:17).

So Balaam continues to prophesy:

NUMBERS 24:5-9
5 "How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! 6 Like valleys that stretch out, Like gardens by the riverside, Like aloes planted by the LORD, Like cedars beside the waters. 7 He shall pour water from his buckets, And his seed shall be in many waters. "His king shall be higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted. 8 "God brings him out of Egypt [MATT 2:15]; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows. 9 'He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?' "Blessed is he who blesses you and cursed is he who curses you
."

The Spirit of GOD compels Balaam to confess the promise that was given to Abraham in GENESIS 12:3. GOD will bless those who bless Israel and curse him that curses Israel.
Our American alliance with Israel was one of the few things that kept us afloat, but now? I see no hope for America as a nation; pray that the LORD does a work of salvation in scores of individuals. As a nation, in my opinion, we’ve crossed the line, and I believe according to ROMANS 1, we’ve been given over to destruction by the hand of GOD. But thank the LORD we aren’t citizens of this world, but of GOD’s eternal kingdom!

“Gardens and trees” alike “by the riverside” are always lush, fruitful, and prosperous. Likewise are all those who abide in the Word - by the rivers of living waters:
PSALM 1:2-3
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper
.
The LORD Jesus Christ defined those who are His true disciples as those who continue in His Word (JN 8:31) and drink deeply of those living waters He alone provides that will gush like rivers from their hearts (JN 7:37).
Let’s be those disciples who continually read, study, learn, love, delight and meditate and apply GOD’s Word to our lives with prayerful devotion to our LORD!

Just as it was GOD’s intention for Israel to be a witness to the nations and plant “seed in many waters” by delivering the Word of the LORD, may we likewise go out to the harvest and reap what was sown by the holy oracles (the Scriptures) of GOD given to the Jewish people (ROM 3:2).

Regarding Agag, he was probably the most powerful monarch in those times and places; Balaam knew of none other; Agag rose above the rest of the monarchs in the region. But Balaam foretells that Israel's chief commander who was at that time Joshua, should be greater and more honorable than even king Agag. What hope then would Balak ever have of defeating such a man as Joshua?
It was king Saul who finally triumphed over Agag’s armies (1 SAM 15:32).

However, the word for king used here in vs.7 is melek, which only means “a king” or “kingdom” depending on how it’s used in Scripture, and Joshua was never a crowned king – a judge and military leader, yes; but not a king: he had no crown, no throne. The Hebrew word for leader or authority (that fits Joshua’s description), either politically or religiously is nagid not melek.
This prophecy I believe speaks of the greater Joshua, the LORD Jesus Christ!

Inasmuch as Satan realizes that his defeat will come through the promised seed of Israel, that is, the Messiah; in order for prophecy to be fulfilled, Israel must receive Jesus as their Messiah, and so the devil has a vested interest in destroying the Jewish nation before this can happen.

Satan’s mission to destroy Israel has been on since the beginning – when there was no nation of Israel yet – when GOD made this declaration, that “the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent” (GEN 3).
Yet the LORD proved valiant on behalf of His people throughout the ages, keeping them safe, and making them unstoppable in battle.

Anyone who knows the detailed history of the Six-Day War (6-10-1967) and the War of Yom Kippur (10-25-1973) as well as more recent wars fought, knows that there is a GOD in heaven watching over His nation.

And just as king Balak was frustrated with his powerlessness, so too is Satan, because he can’t destroy Israel in his attempt to break Bible prophecy and accuse GOD of being a liar if His prophecies concerning Israel don’t come true.

People will truly know there is a GOD in heaven when the Magog battle of EZEKIEL 38 and 39 is completed and over 83% of these military forces intent on taking Israel out are destroyed (EZEK 39:2 KJV).
EZEKIEL 38:23
Thus will I magnify myself and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD
.

EZEKIEL 39:6
And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD
.
“Israel has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies…break bones… pierce with arrows. He bows down, he lies down as a lion”.

The prophet ZECHARIAH spoke of the world’s goal concerning Jerusalem in the last days::
ZECHARIAH 12:2-3
2 "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 "And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it
.
The United Nations on an average levee more than 65% of their resolutions against Israel – a nation smaller than New Jersey, and this in all the wide world is where the UN focuses 2/3rd of their objections over the rights of the Jews to govern their own land?
Islam has routinely declared that they will wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, that they will drive them into the sea.

But GOD has established Jerusalem like an extremely heavy rock in the land, and it can’t be budged, not by any governmental policies or religious zealotry – and any that try to budge this very heavy stone will metaphorically speaking get a hernia! In other words, in their desire to destroy Israel, they themselves will be destroyed – much as we’ll see here in prophecies concerning the pagan nations outnumbering Israel.

NUMBERS 24:10-11
10 Then [king] Balak's anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times! 11 "Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honor
."

Three times Balaam blessed Israel bountifully – Scripture states that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established” (DEUT 19:15; MT 18:16); “established” meaning, “a covenant kept, to continue or persist, to stand, to set up or to appoint”.

This is GOD’s heart for His people, and He proved this by putting words of blessing and promise, not cursing in Balaam’s mouth, and not just once or twice, but three times.
That’s just one way in which the GOD of the Bible is different from Allah of the Quran: Allah does as he likes, even if it goes against the Islamic scriptures. He isn’t obligated to keep any promises.
Our GOD makes and keeps covenants and promises; He’s true to His written Word.
Just as He made His covenant with Abraham (GEN 15:9-21; 17:10-11), and His covenant with Moses (EXOD 24:3-8; DEUT 28; 29), and with David (2 SAM 7:12-16; PS 89:20-27) – He has made the New Covenant and He will keep it as well, for Israel as well as for us, His church (JER 31:31-37; HEB 8:8-13)!

What we will receive in this new covenant has already begun!
We have eternal life, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit as well as the Father and the Son; we have the complete revelation of Scripture and all we need to prosper and work in the kingdom of GOD is provided for us in these.

We have the promise of a future eternal kingdom that will endure forever; we are citizens of heaven who shall dwell in the eternal city of New Jerusalem, living there in glorified, heavenly bodies, exploring the New heavens and New earth to our great delight!
We will fellowship with all the saints and angels, and first and foremost, with our bridegroom, the LORD Jesus Christ, and our Abba Father!

And the god of this world, Satan says to us, what king Balak said to Balaam:
“I would have greatly honored you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honor”.
I for one am grateful that the LORD has kept me back from being honored by this world in rebellion against GOD!
I for one am blessed that I won’t be partaking of any of Satan’s ‘goodies’.
This world can keep its treasures and honors for itself, I have an inheritance in Christ that will make anything offered by Satan want to crawl into the shadows and die of embarrassment and shame!

Whereas Balaam is concerned, the LORD restrained this sorcerer from speaking against Israel and not earning the wealth offered to him; but for us, GOD’s saints – we’ve simply been given the wisdom to choose the far, far better riches in Christ, along with reproach from the world, rather than all of its pleasures – just as Moses chose:
HEBREWS 11:24-27
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ [as] greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible
.
So after hearing king Balak’s complaints, Balaam repeats himself and says pretty much the same thing as he did before:

NUMBERS 24:12-14
12 So Balaam said to [king] Balak, "Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 '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'? 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
.

Balaam is ready to go back to his home just as king Balak advised him to. But GOD is going to have the last word. These two men wanted to see the destruction of Israel, and instead, GOD declares how king Balak and his nation will be destroyed (and we learn about Balaam’s fate in a few chapters from now – and it isn’t pretty)!

NUMBERS 24:15-19
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.


A scepter is an ornate rod that kings hold to make official proclamations; it’s a symbol for kingly rule – “a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” – this is speaking of The Ultimate Ruler of Israel, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah – Who was indeed announced by a star in Bethlehem (MATT 2).

Was this an actual star? A supernova? Perhaps an alignment of different planets to look like a star? Simply the shekinah glory of GOD? I’m not sure – but it was, for all appearances, like a star that led the wise men to the young child Jesus, born of the House of David, King of Israel!

“And batter the brow of Moab and destroy all the sons of tumult.”
When the LORD Jesus Christ returns, He is going to lay waste the nations that come against Israel in the so-called battle of Armageddon, and this includes Moab.

Bosra – located in Edom is believed by many to be the secret location that the Jews will flee to, from Jerusalem once the image of the Beast is erected in the Temple of the Jews (MATT 24:15-16; MICAH 2:12). Both Edom and the mountain region of Seir will be “a possession” for Israel (OBAD 1:17-21) once the LORD Jesus arrives in dominion, destroying the enemies of Israel.

In the days of King David, "all they of Edom became David's servants;" 2 SAM 8:14. Also Moab and Ammon (these three are today’s nation of Syria; 1 CHRON 18:11).

NUMBERS 24:20-25
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; [king] Balak also went his way
.
The fate of the Amalekites is seen in 1 SAMUEL 15:3,8
3 'Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.
8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword
.

Prophecy regarding Cyprus is seen in DANIEL 11:30-32
30 "For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 "And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. 32 "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits
.
And just as mentioned here in NUMBERS 24, we see how Israel will know victory over the nations promised to Abraham by the LORD GOD:
GENESIS 15:18-21
18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the [Nile] river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates 19 "the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, 20 "the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 "the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites
.

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