Dave Burnette's Commentary

Numbers Chapter 24

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Unbelief (c 1-27)
Theme: A Second Approach to the Promised Land (c 22-36)
Message: Balaam Used Despite His Motives  (v 1-25)

Numbers 24 Commentary

(24:1) Balaam Hears from the Lord - Because Balaam was a sorcerer, he would look for omens or signs to help him tell the future. In this situation, however, it was clear that God himself was speaking, and so Balaam needed no other signs, real or imagined.

(24:7) Who was Agag? - Agag may have been used as the title for the king of the Amalekites, just as pharaoh was for the ruler of Egypt. Many years after this prophecy, Saul, the first king of Israel, defeated a king called Agag (1 Samuel 15;8). Balaam prophesied correctly the ruin of Israel's oldest enemy (see also Exodus 17:14-16).

(24:11)  Balaam Speaks Truth - Although Balaam's motives were not correct, in blessing Israel he acted with integrity. God's message had so filled Balaam that he spoke the truth. In so doing, he forfeited the reward that had lured him to speak in the first place. Staying true to God's Word may cost us promotions and advantages in the short run, but those who choose God over money will one day acquire heavenly wealth beyond measure (Matthew 6;19-21). As it turns out, however, Balaam's submission to God was only short-lived, and he ultimately suffered the consequences of his sin (Numbers 31:7-8,16).

(24:15-19) God Can Use Anyone - The "Star out of Jacob" is often thought to refer to the coming Messiah. It was probably this prophecy that convinced the wise men to travel to Israel to search for the baby Jesus (see Matthew 2:1-2). It seems strange that God would use a sorcerer like Balaam to foretell the coming of the Messiah. But this teaches us that God can use anything or anyone to accomplish his plans. By using a sorcerer, God did not make sorcery acceptable; in fact, the Bible condemns it in several places (see, for example, Exodus 22:18; 2 Chronicles 33:6; and Revelation 18:23). Rather, in doing this, God showed his ultimate sovereignty over good and evil.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

The God of Israel

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 24 and in today's text we see how the nation of Israel responds to the law, instruction, and word of the Lord. We see their mistakes and victories and in applying the scriptures we see how we face the same decisions today. If we are wise we will learn from the past mistakes so we can make the right decisions today. Here in chapter 24 we continue to see Balaam's life as he realizes who God really is and turns the corner when he blesses Israel. In doing so God uses him in verse 17 announcing the "Star out of Jacob" as a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. A prophecy which convinced the wise men to to travel to search for the baby Jesus in future days. In making application we see the importance to still bless Israel - protecting her and standing by her. It is the beginning of acknowledging who God is and ultimately who the Messiah is, Christ Jesus. When we do this God blesses us as individuals and as a Nation. We have stood by Israel in the past so let me encourage you to continue acknowledging her as a Nation. Vote for those who stand by her for in doing so we will continue to be blessed as a nation. How about you? Do you stand by Israel in your own life and in how you vote for leaders of our Nation? Let us learn from today's text, as Balaam did, that to acknowledge Israel is to acknowledge the God of the Bible.


Numbers 24

Numbers 24

 1And 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.

 2And 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.

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

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

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

 6As 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.

 7He 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.

 8God 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.

 9He 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.

 10And 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.

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

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

 13If 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?

 14And 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.

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

 16He 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:

 17I 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.

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

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

 20And 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.

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

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

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

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

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