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When we think of the prophets of the Old Testament who prophesied about the Messiah, we might think Isaiah, or Malachi, or Zechariah maybe. But did you know that an evil and self-serving false prophet of the god Baal was used by God to prophecy about His Son? Balaam, was his name, and if you don’t know his story, it’s worth a read. Not least because it features a talking donkey! (Numbers 22-24)

I love that God used a man with evil intentions and put His own words in his mouth. Frustrating his attempts to curse God’s people. Balaam says in Numbers 24 : 17, ‘I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A star shall come out of Jacob: A sceptre shall rise out of Israel’.

Text of Numbers 24 v 17 on a background of gold paint and stars


 In Eastern tradition the image of a star was well known to refer to a great and illustrious ruler, especially used in conjunction with the sceptre. This prophecy had two fulfilments: the great King David who was yet to come, but looking much further ahead, it also pointed to King Jesus. It was very likely that this prophecy informed the wise men (Matt 2:2). The appearing of a bright and unusual star in the sky heralding the birth of a great and brilliant King set them on their journey to find and worship Him. He would be the one who shone with brilliance, lighting the darkness, like a bright star in the night sky. His brilliance would be a guiding light, and a symbol of hope.

Line painted image of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in a stylized stable, with a large star above and the words 'Star of Jacob' beneath


Turn to the book of Revelation and there you see Him as He is now (Rev 1 : 13-17), His face shining like the ‘sun in all its strength’. So glorious that John, the one who in life had been so familiar with the person of Christ that he had laid his head on His chest, fell flat on his face as if dead before Him. In Rev 22 : 16, Jesus says ‘I am… the Bright and Morning Star’. No more a baby in a manger, no more a humble man, He stands as the brilliant glorious resurrected and ascended King, the Star of Jacob shining for all eternity.

He still shines in our darkness today. His brilliance our guiding hope.

Text of Revelation 22 v 16 on a background of gold paint and stars

A far more wise and loving teacher.’ Hywel was serious now. ‘The Holy Spirit, God Himself, and I believe He has come to dwell inside of you. It is He that has brought the change about, He who has created a new man inside of you, He who will continue to guide, and teach, and direct you as you follow this new path. You do not have to fear what lies ahead for you, Philip, because He has promised to go before you, and prepare the way for you. It is a lot for you to understand at the moment, but I think you will more and more see His work in your life, grow to trust His ways, and hear Him speaking to you in the quiet of your heart.’

‘The rain has eased, I think,’ Hywel said, as he untied their sorry-looking horses. ‘We could rest longer, but I would rather push on so that we can arrive at Stay-a-Little before dark.’

Hywel was right, the rain had more or less stopped and the clouds had lifted slightly. Philip felt himself lighter also. He knew he needed to trust God for what was to come next for him. He would choose hope, as Hywel had taught him, and thank God for what He had already done to turn his life around.


Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here