The Distinctive Character of God's People
Numbers 23:5-12
And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.…


1. "How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?" This supposes that God had blessed Israel. To be blessed of the Lord is all that a man can desire. But who are they that are blessed of God?

(1) They on whom God has set His love; not for anything in them to merit that love.

(2) When that solemn engagement was entered into, the Book of Eternal Life was written, and the names of those ordained to it written therein.

2. "How shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?" The idea refers to warfare (1 Samuel 17:45). God's spiritual Israel, whose names are in the Book of Life, are they whom God hath not defied, that is, He hath made them more than conquerors through Him that loved them. And, in order to see this, we must look upon them as being in Christ, their Covenant Head, from all eternity. So that, just as He came off more than conqueror over all His spiritual foes, so shall they.


1. "For from the top of the rocks I see him." We may regard God as saying this of His people, chosen in Christ.

(1) There is the rock of the everlasting covenant. He sees them not as sinful. He sees not perverseness in them, but He sees them accepted in the Beloved, and made complete in Him.

(2) There is the rock of sovereign grace.

(3) There is the rock of God's faithfulness.

2. From the hills I behold him.

(1) God's eternity.

(2) God's uuchangeableness.

III. THE DISTINCTIVENESS OF ISRAEL FROM THE WORLD. "Lo, the people shall dwell alone," &c. God's regenerated blood-bought people, as a spiritual fact, live alone. True, they are in the world, perform its duties, and are reckoned among the nations, but they are not of the world (John 15:19). As soon as God calls them in His grace, puts His Spirit in them, and makes them new creatures in Christ Jesus, from that time they may be said to live alone. For, let a regenerated person live in the same house in which are a number of unregenerate persons, his own relatives, he lives alone, for he has desires and feelings and spiritual sympathies different from theirs. His dwelling-place is on high; he walks with God in the light of the living; the Spirit of God draws his affections upwards, so that he may be said to live alone, so far as outward society goes. Yet he is not alone, for he has the presence of God with him.

(J. J. Eastmead.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.

WEB: Yahweh put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, "Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak."

Israel Dwelling Alone
Top of Page
Top of Page