Advent Day 5: El Elyon

This is the message Balaam delivered:

“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,
the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,
the message of one who hears the words of God,
who has knowledge from the Most High,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
who bows down with eyes wide open:
I see him, but not here and now.
I perceive him, but far in the distant future.
A star will rise from Jacob;
a scepter will emerge from Israel.
It will crush the heads of Moab’s people,
cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth. (Numbers 24:15–17 NLT)

When Balaam blesses the Israelites—as prompted by the Lord, superseding his orders from King Balak of Moab to curse them—he refers to God as “Most High,” a name that signifies God’s authority over all things. This means He holds authority not simply over man but also over all powers and principalities. Though men may build idols and establish thrones for their gods, or attempt to take on that role for themselves, God is still the primary authority and power over all. This truth is woven into the preamble to the blessing Balaam invokes over Israel.

Within the blessing itself is a prophecy that speaks of a star that “will rise from Jacob” and a scepter that “will emerge from Israel” (v. 17). This is certainly a prophecy concerning Jesus: like a star, He shines bright in the darkness, and He holds all power and authority, such as a king wielding a scepter. When a new star appeared in the night sky around the time of Jesus’s birth, a few wise men from the East took that as a sign that a new king of the Jews had been born, so they undertook the long pilgrimage to pay Him homage and shower Him with gifts.

Neither Balaam nor the wise men were followers of God, though they each had at least rudimentary understanding of who He is and how He speaks. Balaam was even directed by the Lord to speak on His behalf, but as far as we know none of them chose to follow God Most High in their everyday lives. Instead, they followed other, lesser gods and looked to the stars to guide their lives.

How have you failed to treat God as Most High in your life? With the help of the Holy Spirit, take time to examine your heart to discern if there are places you have attempted to unseat God from His throne, then commit to doing the necessary work to correct that misplaced worship.