And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered: How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel! Like palm groves that stretch afar, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the LORD has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters; his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.”
And he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.”
Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus goes down into the waters an unknown teacher from Galilee. Crowds were flocking to John for baptism. Part of his message was the arrival of one greater than himself. But one the Promised One finally comes to John, there is nothing to identify him as such. While John was taken aback that Jesus would come for baptism, the crowds must have been taken aback that Jesus was the One John spoke of. “Who is that guy?” “Have you ever seen him before?” “Where is his army?” “Where are his servants?”
But Jesus does not need an army, for he is the army of His people. Jesus is the lovely encampment of Jacob. Jesus is the refreshing garden planted by waters. As the offspring- the offspring of Eve, the offspring of Abraham, the offspring of David, the offspring of God- Jesus certainly must “fulfill all righteousness” and “be in many waters.”
He rises out of those waters the publically acclaimed Messiah of God. The Spirit has descended on him and he then promises the Spirit will flow from his followers. Out of the water of Israel he rises to do hear the royal proclamation. Out of the water he rises to do battle with the foe. Out of the water he rises to conquer all the allies of sin and death.
Out of the skies he is coming to destroy sin and death. We see him, but not now.