In his third discourse he speaks of himself in the same way as later David does (2Sam 23:1-31Now these are the last words of David.
David the son of Jesse declares,
The man who was raised on high declares,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel,
2“The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
3“The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me,
‘He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,
). He is “the man whose eye is opened”. He sees much, much more than many a member of the people of God. But that says nothing about his personal faith. You can know a lot through everything you have heard in the meetings and you can tell a lot about it, but how tragic as it is in the way of Balaam, for whom it is not a matter of his heart.
In the previous discourse there is talk of what God does not see in Jacob and Israel (Num 23:2121“He has not observed misfortune in Jacob;
Nor has He seen trouble in Israel;
The LORD his God is with him,
And the shout of a king is among them.
). In this third discourse Balaam speaks of what God does see in His people. Now that the justification of the people has been pronounced, the full testimony about Israel can be given and is no longer limited to God’s plans and thoughts about them.
In verses 5-6 we read how God rejoices about their dwellings, not in the land, but in the wilderness. He sees them like valleys that stretch out. This refers to valleys through which streams flow that supply these valleys with water. But the metaphor goes even further. Their dwellings are even more lovely than the brook valleys with their abundant grass and their wealth of flowers: they are like gardens with fragrant aloe trees (Psa 45:9a9Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
; Jn 19:39-4039Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds [weight].40So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.), planted by the LORD Himself, and like the stately cedars (Song 5:15b15“His legs are pillars of alabaster
Set on pedestals of pure gold;
His appearance is like Lebanon
Choice as the cedars.
) of which the wood has a long durability.
To see so much refreshment and beauty in God’s people we must stand in a high place (Num 23:2828So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor which overlooks the wasteland.), that is, next to God. We must lift up our hearts to Him. Then we will better understand God’s thoughts and share His thoughts of grace that He sees the beauty of His people, His church, through everything. Through this vision of God on the church we are encouraged and unspeakably happy. We also see the whole people of God and not just the few members we know. For this the Lord must open our eyes.
Balaam does not speak about what is going on in those tents. In those tents there was a lot of grumbling, but he is not talking about that. These are dwelling places that reflect something of the dwelling place of God. God dwells in a tent among His people. The tents wherein his people dwell are a picture of it. That is how God sees our dwelling places and that is how we must show it to the world.
Tent and house are both a space where one stays to rest and seek protection against the heat. It is also the place where we have contact with family members. A tent emphasizes the temporary aspect of the stay. We travel through the world, on a journey to our eternal destination. In ‘dwelling’ the thought is more what one does in this stay, what the resident can all enjoy. They are the tents of “Jacob”, tents with people full of weakness. They are the dwellings of “Israel”, dwellings in which the people of God dwell.
God wants His people to be like valleys, like gardens, where He can find rest and pleasure. Are we such a valley and garden for Him? Aloe gives a wonderful fragrance, a cedar speaks of strength. If the Holy Spirit can work in us, all of this will be found in us by God because the fruit of the Spirit will then become visible: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23a22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.).
We will then become a blessing to others, which is represented by water flowing out of us to others (verse 7; Jn 7:3838He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”). ‘Buckets’ presupposes labor, because effort is needed to fill the buckets. From what we have discovered ourselves in the Word, we can give others to their refreshment. This refreshment will not only be part of those who surround us, but also of our descendants.
Another consequence is that the Lord Jesus will have all authority in our lives, He will have dominion in our lives. Agag, the king of the Amalekites, picture of the flesh, will be kept subjected. The kingdom of God, now still hidden, will become visible in our families, in our tents.
We are reminded again of the origin of God’s people, of the leading out of Egypt (verses 8-9). God is for His people, also thereafter, and against His enemies. He will give His people the strength to defeat all enemies. Then they will lay down like a lion and find peace. Nobody will dare to disturb them in that rest, so that they should get up again to fight.
Lions are said not to seek refuge to sleep. They can lie down anywhere to go to sleep because nobody dares to attack them. The people of Canaan live in Canaan during the reign of Salomon in that kind of safety, peace and security; they will live in the kingdom of peace in such security and peace.
Balaam concludes his third discourse with a statement that repeats the promise of God to Abraham and his descendants (Gen 12:33And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
; 27:2929May peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you;
Be master of your brothers,
And may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be those who curse you,
And blessed be those who bless you.”).