Until the Son of God Appears (Numbers 24:17) - Radical

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Until the Son of God Appears (Numbers 24:17)

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.
– Numbers 24:17

When you hear those words—star, scepter—these are words that relate to kingship. In fact, before this, Genesis 49:10, and promises to the tribe of Judah. We see a picture of a scepter coming from Judah, and it’s a picture of a king. And that’s the same picture we have here in Balaam’s final oracle here in Numbers 24:17 when he’s talking about a king coming out of Jacob and a king rising out of Israel.

Jesus is the Perfect Leader

We see this theme throughout the Old Testament: a coming King. The Old Testament keeps pointing forward to God in different ways. And the history of His people keeps pointing forward who is to come, and you think about it. In our day, you look at rulers and leaders in the world. Imagine a leader that you are struggling under that leadership, and you think, “Okay, well another leader is coming. A better leader is coming.”

That’s the picture we see all throughout the Old Testament, a better Leader is coming. And not just a better leader, a perfect Leader. Not just a better king, but a perfect King is coming, and this is what we celebrate at Christmas, the perfect King has come. Jesus, the Ruler, Lord, King, who is perfect in justice, perfect in righteousness, perfect in goodness, perfect in purity, perfect in love, this is King has come.

Jesus is the Savior and King

This is the greatest news in the world, that God Himself, the good, loving faithful creator God, has come to us as King. And this changes everything about how we view salvation. So Jesus is Savior from our sins, absolutely. But He’s not just Savior, He is King. He doesn’t just save us from our sins, He rules our lives. That affects the way we live on a day-by-day basis. It’s not just we’ve been saved from our sins so now we live however we want. No, we’ve been saved from our sins and now we’re ruled by Jesus the King.

Numbers 24:17: Proclaiming Jesus as King Over All

So we are compelled to pray, Jesus, You are the King—pointed to, promised throughout the whole Old Testament. You came 2,000 years ago. You lived a perfect, sinless, good, righteous, just, pure life without sin and died on a cross for our sins. And You rose from the dead, We exalt you right now as King over all. You are King over all the nations and King of our lives. So we praise You as our Savior. The one who saves us from our sins, and we exalt You and we follow You and we submit to You as our King.

Lord, help us today to follow You as our King, to honor You as our King, to glorify You as our King, to tell others how good a King You are. God, we pray that this reality, not just image, but the reality of You as King would transform the way we live, today and each day, as the King who has come and the King who is coming back. Lord, we want to honor and glorify You. As well as follow You and proclaim You every day and on the day You come back which could be any day. It could be today. We may not even get to Christmas and this Advent season. You might come back before that. Oh, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and may we be found following You faithfully, submitting to You totally, honoring You completely as our King. In Your name we pray, amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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