How did the wise men know to follow a star and find a king?


 “I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob;
    
a scepter will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the foreheads of Moab,
    
the skulls of all the people of Sheth.”  Numbers 24:17
            A prophecy spoken by an unlikely source, Balaam, 1,800 years before Jesus arrived on earth tells of a star rising out of Jacob.  This star would represent a scepter, a sort of staff for royalty. 
            These wise men apparently poured over scripture and connected many dots, waiting to follow this star rising above Israel, which for them would be in the east.  When the phenomenon occurred, they knew exactly what it signified and went to King Herod to meet this king they believed Israel was waiting for.  The Jewish leaders knew nothing of it.
            Obviously God’s spirit was working on the wise men’s hearts and pushing them in this direction and helping them discover Jesus along the way, but it started with this verse.