Balaam's Four Prophecies

Prophecy Number Three: Numbers 24:5-9

King Balak of Moab had been foiled twice already by Balaam's letting him down in his desire to have the people of Israel cursed. He was not to be put off however; he was desperate to intercept these potential enemies before they could defeat his nation as they had the other peoples whom God had instructed them to destroy.

"Then Balak said to Balaam, 'Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.'

"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 towards the wilderness . . . and saw Israel encamped . . . and the Spirit of God came upon him" (Numbers 23:27; 24:1,2).

We go on to read that although Balaam was in a trance – "who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down with eyes opened wide" – God gave him a revelation of the moral beauty and fruitfulness of His people Israel, and caused him to speak the third prophecy concerning His people. This prophecy, in four parts, concerned:-

  1. Israel in the Land

"How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! Like valleys that stretch out like gardens by the riverside, like aloes planted by the LORD, like cedars beside the waters. He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters."

What a glorious prospect was given to Balaam to see, and this wonderful prophecy has been unfolding before our eyes during the past fifty years of Israel's statehood. We have seen Israel back in the land that God had so faithfully and purposefully promised to His servant Abraham, and had reiterated to Isaac and Jacob after him, and to their descendants.

We have also seen the nation being a blessing to less fortunate nations, even from as far away as Africa and South America; we have seen expertise and technology being shared with and taught to others; we have recognized their generosity in medical, water conservation, science and farming knowhow among their neighbours.

  1. Israel 's King

In the next part of the prophecy we are introduced to Israel's King. "His king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted." Agag was the king of the Amalekites, a nation that was destined for destruction: "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Write this for a memorial . . . that I will utterly blot out the remembrances of Amalek from under heaven . . .

'Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God'" (Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:17,18).

And Agag is a type of the Antichrist. It was Agag whom King Saul the first king of Israel had been told by God to destroy: "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them" (1 Samuel 15:3). Saul had failed by his disobedience to God's command through Samuel the prophet in that he spared some of the best of the animals and also King Agag, and Samuel had to finish the job! God also rejected King Saul from being king because of his disobedience.

We can look forward to the fulfilment of Psalm 2: "Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion." That will be the day when He, our great Redeemer King, will come and destroy the Antichrist, His kingdom shall be exalted, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.

  1. Israel 's Increasing Empire

As we read the remainder of Balaam's prophecy we have again a reminder of the early humble beginnings of the people of Israel as they become a nation. "God brings him out of Egypt; 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."

So the nation gains strength; it inceases in numbers and defeats its enemies. And one day King Messiah will reign, "and it shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (Zechariah 12:9). "And He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:33).

  1. Constant Vigil

The last verse of Balaam's third prophecy uses the analogy of a lion with its vigilance and strength. "He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who will rouse him?" The prophecy looks forward to the time when no more will Israel be caught off guard. No more will their enemies have any part or lot in dictating to the people of God. Israel will rule and reign victoriously, and the whole world will realize that the Lord God reigns.

This message is reiterated many times in the Psalms, and it was the same message that was conveyed to King Nebuchadnezzar in his day. He in his pride and arrogance was brought very low; he had to realize that "the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he chooses" (Daniel 4:25).

While this is true today, even though world events would seem to indicate otherwise, we must believe that especially in relation to Israel it is true – indeed, the Lord God has all things in His hand, and He is "working all things after the counsel of his own will."

So it will be in the day when "God has highly exalted him (the Messiah) and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue should confess that Jesus the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Letter to the Philippians 2:10,11).

Balaam concludes this his third prophecy with the timely reminder: "Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you." It is a reminder that cannot be too often stated.

NEXT: Prophecy Number Four