Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: God sanctifies and increases His people - Balaam, part 6. Num 23:7-10.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: God sanctifies and increases His people - Balaam, part 6. NUM 23:7-10.  


Announcements/opening prayer:



NUM 23:7 And he took up his discourse [proverb or poetic language] and said,

"From Aram Balak has brought me,

Moab's king from the mountains of the East,

'Come curse Jacob for me,

And come, denounce Israel!'


NUM 23:8 "How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed?

And how can I denounce, whom the Lord has not denounced?


NUM 23:9 "As I see him from the top of the rocks,

And I look at him from the hills;

Behold, a people who dwells apart,

And shall not be reckoned among the nations.


Sanctification = to be set apart to God for a special purpose.


This was true of Israel in the OT and of each individual believer in the NT. Because God is infinitely holy, God the Father, Son, and Spirit are eternally sanctified. They are separate from all else. Therefore, it is only holy God who can sanctify. Man in no way can accomplish it. 


Last night we looked at positional, experiential, and ultimate sanctification for the Church Age believer. Now we look at God's sanctification of Israel. They were a called people set apart, yet this did not guarantee the fulfillment of the unconditional covenants for every Jew, since being born a Jew did not secure them, but like Abraham, each had to place his faith in the covenants of God, which included His redemption of His people through His own sacrifice.


Historically, The OT traces the  history of the Jews from Abraham to the return of the exiles from Babylonian captivity. During this period, Israel was God's "peculiar people" [KJV].


Prophetically, the prophets proclaimed both the judgment of Israel and their restoration, for the apostasy of Israel was not yet final, because in the prophetic future God would bring about a revival among the people so that they would turn in repentance and obedience to Him. This national salvation of Israel will in turn lead to a national restoration in peace and prosperity to inherit the land.


DEU 14:2

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.


The believer must understand that there is a difference between the election of Israel as a nation and the election of the Church.


Election of Israel - a national election setting the Jewish nation apart from all others. This does not guarantee the salvation of the individual Jew; it only guarantees the survival of the nation as a nation.


Covenant theology tends to interpret every usage of the word "elect" in the Bible to be of salvation and so views it as a reference to the Church. The dispensationalist sees the election of Israel and the Church as two different elections.


Because of the election of Israel, Jehovah selects, preserves, and defends this one people in a way that is not true of any other nation. This has been proven beyond a doubt by history. It is because of this election that the Jews are the chosen people. Because of this election, the other nations must eventually take a subordinate place, and in the Messianic Kingdom all nations or peoples that will not serve Israel will perish. No true interpretation of the OT is possible if the fact of Israel's national, sacred, eternal election be rejected.


Jews were Jews because of the fact that they were born into covenant relations with God by a physical birth, though not to all of Abraham's descendants, but only through Isaac and Jacob.


Election of the Church - an individual election including both Jews and Gentiles who have believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior. This election is to God's highest and best that can be graciously given to any creature.


Every Jew in the OT would fall under the election of Israel, but an individual Jew could reject the promises of God and, in essence, toss away his election. The Jew who believed God was saved and enjoyed all the fruits that saved Israel would enjoy in time and for eternity. The believing Jew would see and be a part of, in the far future, the complete fulfillment of all the covenant promises of Jehovah to Israel.


When Balaam states "a people who dwells apart," he is referring to the election of Israel.


All of Israel was set apart unto God.


EXO 13:1-2

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Sanctify to Me every first-born, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me."


God created a new racial species through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All racial Jews belonged to Him. Certainly they could reject Jehovah, and many of them did, but by doing so they were throwing away their birthright. The godly Jew, the believing Jew, was set apart unto God for service whereas the unbelieving Jew failed to do so and is ultimately judged. Being a racial Jew does not guarantee salvation.


ROM 9:8

That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.


The temple was sanctified unto God.


2CH 36:14 [coming up on the last days of the southern kingdom]

Furthermore, all the officials of the priests and the people were very unfaithful following all the abominations of the nations; and they defiled the house of the Lord which He had sanctified in Jerusalem.


Hence, Gentiles were not allowed to enter it. The temple was where God dwelt among His people and so it was holy. Only those Jews who were clean ceremonially could enter it. God gave them cleansing rituals so that through application they could come to deeply understand God's sanctification of them by means of faith.


Aaron and his sons were sanctified for priestly service:


1CH 23:13

The sons of Amram were Aaron and Moses. And Aaron was set apart to sanctify him as most holy, he and his sons forever, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister to Him and to bless in His name forever.


From Aaron's line came the high priesthood who interceded for the people before God. He had also to be holy or his service was rejected and he died. In this God was teaching His people the sanctification of mediation and the coming Messiah who was perfectly sanctified and holy.


How could they do this if in their hearts they were secretly worshippers of false gods?


God set apart the godly man for His service:


PSA 4:3

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;

The Lord hears when I call to Him.


They were not in union with Christ in the OT but they did have the promises and the Law by which they could set themselves apart from the heathen in love of God and His word and to walk in His statutes and to keep His Sabbath.


God will bring all true Israel back to the land and set them apart from the remaining world.


EZE 39:27

"When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.


At the return of Christ all believing Israel will be gathered and enter in the Millennial kingdom with Him for a literal thousand years. All OT saints and Tribulational saints will be resurrected to enjoy His Millennial kingdom. They will be set apart from the other nations while the other nations will bow before the Lord and His nation, sanctified unto Him.


Israel was to sanctify God in their hearts:


ISA 29:22-23

Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, They will sanctify My name [person]; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, And will stand in awe of the God of Israel.


NUM 23:8 "How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed?

And how can I denounce, whom the Lord has not denounced?


NUM 23:9 "As I see him from the top of the rocks,

And I look at him from the hills;

Behold, a people who dwells apart,

And shall not be reckoned among the nations.


The outward "dwells apart" was a symbol of their inward separation from the heathen world, by virtue of which Israel was saved from the fate of the heathen world. The Jew belonged to God and had God's leaders, God's land, and God's Law. Naturally the Jew could reject all these in his heart, but that did not undo the fact that those things were his. If he rejected the truth that God would forever redeem His people through the Messiah and so rejected the reality behind the Levitical offerings, he would be judged and forfeit being a part of true Israel.


God so wonderfully set Israel apart that they were not only saved from heathenism, but could not be overcome by the heathen. This, of course, only so long as they themselves should inwardly maintain this separation from the heathen, and faithfully continue to walk in the unconditional covenant with the Lord their God.


God had certainly separated them from among the nations to be His own possession.


This is exactly true of the Christian. A believer may physically separate himself from the sinful and evil things of the world, but if the desire for those things are still his greatest desire than he has only separated himself from them in units of physical space. The true, practical sanctification is a conclusion of the heart which makes separation a reality, whether the temptation is next door or on the other side of the continent. So you hear of the person who would never enter a bar or any place where sin is openly portrayed but if he deeply desires sin first and foremost, he cannot then say that he is experientially sanctified. A Christian may not have  committed an overt sin in a situation but has committed the mental attitude sin - in this he is outside the plan of God and not set apart unto God in that situation.


The solution to that is not to give in to the sin because you still desire it in your heart, so why not do it anyway, for sin compounded is only compounded misery and possibly also unto others. The solution is to continue to learn of God's righteousness. When you see His righteousness for yourself, you will desire it more than sin, though never reaching sinlessness. Blessed is he who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, not he who walks perfectly in it. We find in Israel, after the restraint of great leadership is removed, that they go right back to heathenism and worship of demons. This occurred because they failed to sanctify Jehovah in their own hearts as holy. They simply bided their time until the opportunity was best, which was after the death of Joshua and the elders who ruled well with him, and they grabbed what they desired all along. It is simply like the child who behaves like an angel when dad and mom are around and then turn into devils when they're not.


As soon as Israel lost itself in heathen ways, it also lost its own external independence, but that loss is not permanent. She will be a client nation again at the second coming of Christ.


This is also true of the church who has lost much of her independence from the world, but this too is not permanent due to positional and ultimate sanctification.


1JO 2:15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


1JO 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.


1JO 2:17 And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.


Separation from the lusts of the world, in our own hearts, couldn't be made more clear.


NUM 23:10 "Who can count the dust of Jacob,

Or number the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the upright,

And let my end be like his!"


In this state of separation from the other nations, Israel rejoiced in the blessing of its God, which was already visible in the innumerable multitude into which it had grown. Who has ever determined the dust of Jacob? As the dust cannot be numbered, so is the multitude of Israel innumerable.


These words point back to the promise of God to Abraham.


GEN 13:16

And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.


GEN 22:17

indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.


Moses states in his farewell message:


DEU 10:22

Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.