by Inglis Fleming
There are, I suppose, very few who have not, on clear nights, admired the beauty of the sky, studded as it is with those tiny, shining points of light called stars, which we know, small though they seem, are great orbs, many of which are far larger than our sun.
Some of you have often gazed up into the great overhead dome, while a friend has pointed out various stars by name, perhaps calling attention to some one or other of those great worlds of fire just becoming visible above the horizon.
It is not, however, of the stars which appear night by night above us that I wish to speak to you now, but of three stars mentioned in God’s Word.
The first of these is referred to in Numbers 24:17. I shall term it the STAR OF SALVATION.
“I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.”
Who is this star out of Jacob? What is its name? Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Star which arose 1,450 years after Balaam’s prophecy. During that lengthy period, people had watched for it, but in vain.
Had God forgotten His promise? No, indeed; He always keeps His word; and at last, true to the prophecy, the Star of Salvation arose: the long-looked-for Star out of Jacob, the promised Seed which should bruise the serpent’s head, appeared.
Have you ever seen Him? Have you ever looked up and owned Him as your Saviour and Lord? The One whom His people refused—rejected—despised—scorned—crucified, now on the throne of God?
It is He to whom the figures and shadows of the Old Testament pointed, the One who died upon Calvary’s cross.
Yes, the Star out of Jacob, the Sceptre out of Israel, the Rod and Branch of Jesse is the Lord Jesus Christ. Balaam could say of Him, “I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh.” Loving the wages of unrighteousness, the false prophet was seeking to curse the people of God, but was compelled to bless, compelled too to pronounce the judgments which would fall upon himself.
He would see “the Star,” but not as a star of salvation; no, to him Jesus will be but a judge. In that coming day, when every one shall give an account of himself; Balaam will see the One of Whom he spoke; will see Him as a judge, and will be banished into the eternal distance of the blackness of darkness for ever.
Jesus is the Saviour of sinners today.
Again I ask, Have you seen Him? Have you beheld Him? Has your heart been lightened, and your path been brightened by the glad rays of His great salvation?
You and I can never be the Star of Salvation, but if washed in the precious blood of Christ, made fit for God’s service, we may be in some degree like the
STAR OF GUIDANCE
spoken of in Matthew 2:9, which led the wise men of the East to the place where the Saviour was. “Lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.”
God had arranged everything for the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many were expecting Him, but He came not in the way they thought. A palace was not the place of His birth; He was, when born, to be found in a manger, for there was no room for Him in the inn.
These wise men of the East wished to find the Lord Jesus Christ. They had, I doubt not, heard of the Star of Jacob; and when they saw a new and wonderful star in the sky, they thought it must herald the birth of the long-looked-for King. They therefore left their country, and journeyed to Jerusalem, the place in which the Lord Jesus would most likely be found. He was not there in the holy city; the royal city could not claim the Saviour’s birth!
The chief priests and scribes told them that in Bethlehem the Messiah should be born; so, leaving Herod’s court, they went thither. When they had departed, to their great joy the star again appeared, guiding them onward until it stood over the house where the young Child was. It had led them to the Saviour.
Dear young Christians, you can be like that star.
Have you a school-fellow anxious about his soul, longing to find his way out of sorrow and fears into happiness and peace? Can you not say to him, “Jesus is the way out of all sorrow into joy, and up to glory.” Seek to lead your friends and school-fellows to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour. Where is He now? Is He in the house where the wise men found Him? No, indeed.
Coming as a babe into the world, He went through the sorrows of the life of a child, a lad, a man, apart from sin—faithful to His Father, obedient unto death, and is now risen and in glory. Do you know Him there? Do you know anything of His heart of love? Look up into the glory, and see Jesus who once died for our sins, seated at God’s right hand, because all the work of redemption is done.
Those who know the Lord Jesus as the Star of Salvation, can look for Him as the
STAR OF HOPE.
Many boys and girls have never seen the morning star, which rises before the sun, and is the harbinger of the orb of day; but to many that star appearing above the horizon has been a comfort and a joy, telling of the speedy return of the gladdening beams of the ruler of the day. It is to this star the Lord Jesus compares Himself in Revelation 22:16, and I would advise all who have the opportunity to get up some morning about an hour before sunrise, and scan the eastern sky, in order to behold the star which the Lord uses as a figure of Himself.
In Malachi 4:2, the Lord Jesus Christ is called the Sun of Righteousness, ere long to rise with healing in His wings, gladdening the whole earth with His presence.
Before that morning dawns, the believer looks for Him, not as the Star of Jacob, but as “the Bright and Morning Star.”
More than 1,800 years ago He came to suffer and die for sinners; very soon He is coming again, not for sinners, but for those who are His saints, washed from their sins in His precious blood.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 speaks of the moment when He will appear as the Morning Star. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
May you, dear young believers, be found watching for the Lord Jesus Christ as the Star of Hope; and while remaining here, seek to be like the Star of Guidance, leading others to Him whom you have learned to know for yourselves as the Star of Salvation.
Scattered Seed 1889, p. 166