Before Balaam & Joshua

jesus-304899_1280William J. Stewart | Christ In The Old Testament

Standing Before Balaam
Being exceedingly afraid of the children of Israel, Balak, king of Moab, sent messengers to Balaam, a prophet of God. They stated:

…a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed. (Numbers 22:5-6)

Interestingly, that last statement is the very thing God spoke concerning Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:3). The LORD revealed to Balaam that he should not go with the men from Balak, nor should he curse the people, for they were blessed.

Balak again sent men to Balaam (22:15), and again Balaam said that he would inquire of the LORD. we should learn in Balaam to accept what the LORD has said, and not seek something new. God told him to go with them—He would use it as an opportunity to teach Balaam.

Three times Balaam’s donkey saw the LORD, and three times, she saved Balaam from His sword. However, he was not aware. Rather, he struck the animal in anger each time. After the third time, the donkey spoke to Balaam. Balaam, still clueless simply told the donkey he was made at her and if he had a sword, he’d kill her on the spot!

It was at this point that Balaam’s eyes were opened and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing before him (Num 22:31). It was revealed to him that his way was perverse (v 32), and that his donkey had saved his life (v 33).

Balaam offered to turn back, if it pleased the LORD, but rather, the LORD told him to go with the men, “but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak” (22:35).

Balaam would go to Balak, and each time he was asked to curse the people, he would listen to the LORD and bless them.

Standing before Joshua
After the death of Moses, Joshua became the leader of the nation Israel. He would take them to the land promised by God. Several times, Joshua was told to “be strong and of good courage” (Deuteronomy 31:7, 23; Joshua 1:6-9, 18).

After Joshua had circumcised all the people, and the final preparations were being made for them to go into the land to conquer it, on a given day, Joshua was by Jericho, and saw a Man standing opposite him. Notice the text:

…it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)

Though Joshua was the commander of the armies of Israel, he acknowledged the position truly belonged to the One who stood before him. This was not just a Man, this was the LORD.

In response to this wonderful event, Joshua bowed to the ground and worshiped. If this were just an angel or a man, he would have surely been corrected. But, he wasn’t. it was appropriate that he worship the Commander of the army of the LORD.

In fact, the LORD told him, as He had told Moses at the time when He called him to service, “…the place where you stand is holy.’ It was not something significant about the plot of land, but about who was there at the time.

Another case of the LORD appearing to man, to Joshua this time. It was not the Father, nor was it the Spirit of God—this was the pre-incarnate Christ; worthy of worship and with authority to command all of Israel.

 

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