Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

Jesus, our Messiah – Day 4

The star that shone the brightest

Bible text(s)

17I look into the future,

And I see the nation of Israel.

A king, like a bright star, will arise in that nation.

Like a comet he will come from Israel.

He will strike the leaders of Moab

And beat down all the people of Seth.

Numbers 24:17GNBOpen in Bible reader

2and asked, “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:2GNBOpen in Bible reader

God Promises a Ruler from Bethlehem

2The LORD says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”

“I see him, but I don’t see him now. I view him, but he isn’t near. A star will come from among the people of Jacob. A king will rise up out of Israel. He’ll crush the foreheads of the people of Moab. He’ll crush the skulls of all of the sons of Sheth.” Numbers 24:17 (NIV)

Christians throughout the world celebrate the season of Advent, the four Sundays preceding the birth of Christ. This prophecy from Balaam depicts the Messiah as a star, who would rule and crush the forces of evil oppressing his people.

Balaam was a noted magician who lived in Moab. The king of Moab was fearful of the Hebrew nation who had massed on his borders, threatening to invade his country on their way to the Promised Land.

He enlisted the help of Balaam, offering him a vast reward if he would curse the Hebrews and bring about their defeat. Much to the king’s anger and distress, Balaam blessed the Hebrews instead.

The prophecy about the star coming out of Jacob (the house of Judah) led to the belief, among the Jews, that the birth of the Messiah would be heralded by a bright star.

The Magi (wise men) believed so too. They came to Jerusalem asking, “Where is the child who has been born to be king of the Jews? When we were in the east, we saw his star. Now we have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)

The prophet Micah provided the answer: The Lord says, “Bethlehem, you might not be an important town in the nation of Judah. But out of you will come a ruler over Israel for me. His family line goes back to the early years of your nation. It goes all the way back to days of long ago.” Bethlehem was also called Ephrathah (Micah 5:2).

So the Magi, having been told secretly by King Herod that the Scriptures revealed that the Christ child would be born in Bethlehem, journeyed there.

They were overjoyed to see that the star they had been following had stopped above the house where the Christ child was with his mother, Mary. Kneeling down, they worshipped him and presented gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

This Christmas, you too may be sharing gifts with your loved ones. The greatest gift you can share is God’s love for them through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and friend.

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