“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 skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Numbers 24:17 

Every once in awhile you’ll see them at sporting events or on billboards on the commute into work. Signs bearing the words “JOHN 3:16” emblazoned on placards, bumpers and roadside signs remind those of us who are Christ-followers of God’s love for the world, others scoff and smirk. Just another weird ‘Jesus person’.

From time to time you’ll see other verses of scripture put up on display, but not very often do you see Numbers 24:17, “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 skulls of all the sons of Sheth.

Rather than curse Israel as he intended to do, the prophet Balaam spoke words of hope for the people. His words had both a ‘present’ message and an eternal one. This small fledgling nation would someday become a great nation under a powerful leader and it’s boundaries would be expanded and secure.

But more than that, the eternal implications were great. Beyond the golden era of King David, a messiah would arise. He would take away the sins of the world! His reign would be eternal, just, and full of love. His scepter would be one of grace, compassion, forgiveness and comfort for those who followed him.

This hope, this ‘seeing him, but not now; beholding him, but not near’ is like the first light of dawn on the horizon. Barely more than a faint glow, it grows brighter as dawn approaches. For the watchful eye, the heart the fears the dark, the approaching dawn brings hope. The night will soon be over; the hidden dangers will be exposed; the enemies of our souls that love the darkness because their deeds are evil will flee.

As the horizon lightens our sense of expectancy grows. As evil seems to triumph over good; as morality and the things of God seem to be threatened, we harbor in our hearts the promise that someday our king will triumph. Some day the expectancy of the dawn will be as bright as the noonday sun!

Later, this light, this star spoken of in prophecy would say to those who would hear him, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

Matthew tells us more when he quotes Jesus as saying, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14).

This light rising in the darkness; that brings hope to a hope-less world is Jesus Christ. In him we not only have our hope, but we reflect that hope to those around us. The Christmas Star is much more than a reminder of a little baby in a manger. It’s a present promise of future hope, just as the dawn promises us a new day.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus I thank you for the hope you give us on a daily basis. Help me to reflect your hope to those in need around me today. Amen.

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