Advent Devotion for December 8
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “I see him, but not now.”
SCRIPTURE: Numbers 24:15-17
15 Then he spoke his message:
“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,
the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,
16 the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,
who has knowledge from the Most High,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:
17 “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 skull of all the people of Sheth.
SCRIPTURE: John 1:14-15
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)
SCRIPTURE: Galatians 4:4-5
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
MUSIC: O Come, All Ye Faithful - St. Olaf Choir, in Norway (YouTube)
SOME THOUGHTS: At first blush, these passages may seem a bit disjointed and the Numbers’ contribution hardly prophetic. Let’s take a closer look. As with many of the prophetic pronouncements, there is a reference to immediate history as well as to events in the future. Here, Balaam gives a message given him by God. A star, a symbol for a king, will rise out of Jacob. The scepter symbolized power and majesty. Put simply, a majestic and powerful king will come from Jacob. King David fit the description perfectly as he defeated the Moabites. Some 400 years prior to the time of Balaam – Jacob, in giving blessings to his sons, blessed Judah (David and Jesus’ tribe), with the words that a scepter would not depart “until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.” (Genesis 49:10). About 1300 years later in Matthew 2:2 there is the reference to a “star rising in the east announcing the birth of the King of Israel.” The Apostle John tells us that this eternal King took on flesh and blood and lived among us. Paul further comments in Galatians that God came to us at exactly the right time to set us free. In following all of this through, you can see that our God is a very patient God, working in and through the lives of very flawed people over a long period of time. Notice the phrase “But when the right time came, God sent…” Our God is the master of the “right time” both then and now. God’s timing is perfect. We must always realize we are living in his time. Jacob and David were living in God’s timing and part of his bigger story though they never met Jesus. It is the same for you and me today as we walk by faith, not by sight.
PRAYER: Be Thou, O Lord, our protection, who art our redemption; direct our minds by Thy gracious presence, and watch over our paths with guiding love; that, among the snares which lie hidden in this path wherein we walk, we may so pass onward with hearts fixed on Thee, that by the track of faith we may come to be where Thou wouldest have us. Amen. — Mozarabic Prayer, c.700 AD